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Helping Galapagos Native Species Thrive

Beach on a Galapagos Island

Isolated from the rest of the world for most of their existence, the Galapagos Islands are home to more unique plant species than almost any other place on earth.

But following the arrival of settlers -- and more recently, thousands of eco-tourists -- non-native plants like cultivated guava and blackberry have gained a foothold and are threatening to out-compete native plants.

To better understand the problem, the Charles Darwin Foundation is inventorying invasive plants, starting with Isabela Island. Their goal is to identify the most invasive species for eradication or control before they become established.

The Foundation is also working with the Galapagos National Park to manage non-native animals on Isabela, such as cats that have already killed off native birds; and goats, pigs and donkeys that threaten the very icon of the region, the giant Galapagos tortoise.

The Galapagos Islands symbolize the world's biodiversity as well as its vulnerability, and restoration efforts on Isabela are some of the most ambitious ever undertaken. The Darwin Foundation aims to manage these islands back to a balance that ensures their native beauty and uniqueness for today, and for future generations.

Script by Stephen Webb