July 29, 2021

Red provides fast care for animals affected by man in Galapagos



A run over iguana, turtles affected by nets in the sea and several birds are on the list of 250 animals affected by human actions and that have been reported through the Rapid Response Network (RRR) of the Ecuadorian Archipelago of Galapagos.

The RRR belongs to the Galapagos National Park, but it works through the line of the Integrated Security Service ECU 911 to assist animals with anthropic effects (caused by humans).

Eduardo Espinoza, director of Ecosystems of the Galapagos National Park, explained to Efe that in the RRR there are veterinarians and several park rangers for attention in the first instance.

SPECIES AND MAIN AFFECTATIONS

Among the most frequently attended species are giant tortoises, wolves and marine iguanas and birds, mainly nocturnal that go out to feed in open water, but that, sometimes, when they return, they find the lights of the town and “suffer accidents, collide “he explained.

The fundamental causes for the damage of the animals are the run-over, the glare and the use of hooks.

But they are also affected by waste. Last July, for example, thanks to information provided by citizens, through line 911, park rangers and WildAid volunteers were able to free two juvenile wolves that had plastic entangled in their necks.

The first wolf was treated on the Mosquera islet, north of Santa Cruz Island; while the second was on Rabida Island, in the center of the archipelago.

The fact that they were juvenile sea lions, of which they do not migrate much, allowed a fast and successful attention.

The statistics of the Galapagos National Park show that so far this year, ninety animals have been treated thanks to the RRR, a figure lower than that of 2018, when they totaled 118, all due to anthropogenic causes.

According to Espinoza, since 2013 – when the RRR was created – 250 animals affected by humans have been treated.

EUTANASIA IN EXTREME CASES

Espinoza remembers when they found a sea turtle entangled in a net and making unsuccessful efforts to surface to breathe.

Experts feared that the turtle could lose its fins, but after four weeks of treatment at the Primary Care Center, they managed to release it.

He recalled that “ghost fishing gear kills thousands of animals every year” worldwide and many of them cannot be helped.

The director of Ecosystems of the Galapagos National Park says that they must also attend to dead animals because they have to do the respective autopsy.

“But there are cases in which we have had to practice euthanasia,” he said, recalling a marine iguana who “had his skull broken and it was impossible to save him” so they interrupted his life cycle to avoid suffering.

CIVIC EDUCATION

Espinoza is pleased by the reception of the RRR among the community, because now, as soon as they see an injured animal, they report it to 911 and the park, which attends every day and keeps people on duty to assist the cases.

It also highlights that people began to distinguish between a natural and an anthropic effect on animals.

And he stressed that the man respects more the space of the animals of the archipelago, many of which walk freely in populated areas: sea iguanas cross the streets, sea lions seize the seats where tourists usually sit.

He also says that people are more cautious, so now, before starting a vehicle, look underneath if any marine iguana had decided to seek refuge in the shade.

“There is,” he says, “more awareness about the effects that man can cause to nature” and also about the sanctions against those who damage protected species in the archipelago, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978.

And from these sanctions a driver knows that he recently had to pay $ 11,000 for having run over an iguana, one of the thousands of species also known as “Enchanted Islands”, located about a thousand kilometers from the Ecuadorian continental coasts.

Susana Wood

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