According to the Galapagos National Park, Darwin's flycatcher, a small bird known for its vibrant vermilion plumage, is making a noticeable but modest recovery on the Galapagos Islands after being on the brink of extinction. The park announced on Thursday that the 15 remaining pairs of these charismatic birds on Santa Cruz Island have successfully produced 12 chicks this year.
As an endemic species to the Galapagos, Darwin's flycatcher is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While they can be found on other islands like Pinzon, their population faced significant threats specifically on Santa Cruz Island.
To address this challenge, an experimental management program was implemented in a forest at a higher elevation on Santa Cruz, where only 15 pairs of birds exist. The program has proven successful, resulting in the addition of 12 new chicks to the population, as reported by the Galapagos National Park.
Danny Rueda, the director of the reserve, expressed the significance of each newly born chick, stating that it represents a new ray of hope for the conservation of this vulnerable species listed on the red list.
"The emergence of these 12 new birds marks a remarkable achievement since the inception of the program in 2018, yielding particularly noteworthy results this year," the Galapagos National Park stated.
The program, a collaborative effort involving the Charles Darwin Foundation, the University of Vienna, and the nonprofit Galapagos Conservancy, has resulted in the arrival of 21 chicks on Santa Cruz Island between 2020 and 2022.
Located approximately 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago is renowned for its unique flora and fauna, found nowhere else in the world. The exploration of these wonders played a pivotal role in British scientist Charles Darwin's development of the theory of evolution in the 19th century.