Census reveals 314 flamingos in Galapagos

flamingo

A census of Galapagos flamingos conducted by the Ministry of the Environment (MAE), through the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) and with the support of the Charles Darwin Foundation, confirms the existence of 314 individuals in the 34 permanent and semi-permanent lagoons of the archipelago.

According to last year’s census report in which 326 individuals were found, it can be determined that the Galapagos flamingos population is stable. In addition, samples were taken from the different gaps for laboratory analysis that provide technicians with information on the conditions of the same.

The results of the water samples taken in each of the lagoons showed that there are no significant changes in the physical, chemical and biological parameters analyzed. The technicians do not rule out the possibility of Galapagos flamingos populations being affected by climate change, the presence of species introduced in the vicinity of some lagoons or diseases.

With these data, the MAE as the national environmental authority will initiate a program to control introduced species, especially cats, rodents and pigs, in ponds where the number of individuals has decreased. Whereas in the lagoons in which there are no introduced species they presented an increase in the population number.

The Galapagos flamingos are a native species. There are not many studies on this, but it is known that they do not migrate outside the archipelago. It is in a vulnerable state within the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) of endangered species. In Galapagos they are distributed in the islands Santa Cruz, Isabela, Santiago, Floreana and Rábida. The lagoon located in Quinta Playa, Isabela Island, is home to about fifty percent of the Galápagos flamingos population.

Data

The total census of flamingos is run every five years. Annually, a partial census is carried out in which the individuals of the 14 most populated lagoons are counted.
For the total census, 50 park rangers and 20 volunteers were employed, in addition to four DPNG vessels, for the transfer of personnel to the different census points.
There are 34 permanent and semipermanent lagoons that exist in the islands, fourteen of these are located on Isabela Island.
In the census the park rangers record the georeferenced position from where the birds were spotted. They sample water and measure the depth of each pond.

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