Saving the Floreana Mockingbird

Saving the Floreana Mockingbird

Floreana Mockingbird © Luis Ortiz-CatedralLate in 2008, GCT's president Andrew Marr launched an appeal to raise funds to help save the critically endangered Floreana Mockingbird (Mimus trifasciatus) from extinction and restore its native island.  Interestingly, the mockingbirds of Galapagos and not the finches, are thought to have been the key inspiration for Darwin's theory of evolution.  This work is also vital as the Floreana Mockingbird is now one of the rarest birds in the world. 

Unfortunately, the Floreana mockingbird is now only found on two tiny islets off the coast of Floreana, namely Gardner and Champion Islands. Although the species was recorded as being common on the island of Floreana by Charles Darwin in 1835, the last individual collected on Floreana itself was in 1852 and the last reported sighting was in 1868.

The birds' extinction from Floreana is believed to have been caused by a number of factors including hunting, predation by introduced species (such as black rats and cats) and the loss of its favoured nesting and food source, the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia megasperma).

Floreana Mockingbird © Michael DvorakIn 2007, the population was estimated to be just 38 individual birds on Champion and 98 on Gardner making this species Critically Endangered on the IUCN red list.  With such shockingly low numbers, it is questionable whether the species will survive the next 100 years.
 
This ongoing project is being carried out in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and a recovery plan has been developed for the species, with the ambitious goal of reintroducing the mockingbird to Floreana Island. This is ultimately the only hope for the survival of this species as Champion and Gardner are too small to support large populations.  A key stage towards reintroduction will be restoring the island to ensure that sufficient native habitat is in place for the species. This will be achieved by reducing the number of introduced species, strict quarantine rules and also supplementation of Opuntia forests as a key feeding and nesting resource.

Please help us to save one of the rarest birds in the world by supporting Project Floreana.  To make a donation, please click here.