Published by surfbirds on March 10, 2017
With an estimated population of 100 individuals, saving the mangrove finch from extinction is not an easy task. However, thanks to funding by the Galapagos Conservation Trust and three years of intensive conservation management of the species in the Galapagos Islands by the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Galapagos National Park Directorate and San Diego Zoo Global, an individual singing male could be the evidence that it has all been worth it.
The Mangrove Finch Project is working in the Galapagos Islands to save the Critically Endangered mangrove finch, whose global population consists of only around 100 individuals. The tiny population is still at risk, as it is affected by low nesting success due to the parasitism of nestlings by the introduced parasitic fly, Philornis downsi and predation by invasive rats. To try and counteract these effects, in 2014 a multi-institutional project led by the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos National Park began to head-start mangrove finches by collecting eggs from the wild, captive-rearing the chicks and releasing the fledglings back to their natural habitat. The wild parents are able to lay again, so this can double the chance of breeding success.