Threats and Vision for the Conservation of Galápagos Birds

Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui1, David Wiedenfeld2, Carlos A. Valle3, 4, Hernán Vargas5, Paolo Piedrahita6, Laia J. Muñoz-Abril4, 7, Juan José Alava8, 9, *
1 Charles Darwin Research Station, Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos, Ecuador
2 American Bird Conservancy, PO Box 249, The Plains, Virginia, VA 20198, USA
3 Colegio de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales COCIBA, Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, Campus Cumbayá Av. Diego de Robles S/N e Interoceánica, Quito, Ecuador
4 Galapagos Science Center (GSC), San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos, Ecuador
5 The Peregrine Fund, 5668 West Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, ID 83709, USA
6 Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Guayaquil, Ecuador
7 Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Estatal Península de Santa Elena, Santa Elena, Ecuador
8 Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Faculty of Science, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canada
9 Fundación Ecuatoriana para el Estudio de Mamíferos Marinos, Guayaquil, Ecuador

© 2019 Jiménez-Uzcátegui et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Faculty of Science, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canada; Email:



Threats that affect the avian diversity on the Galápagos Islands are increasing. We evaluated threats such as climate change and severe weather, human intrusions and disturbance, biological resource use, invasive and other problematic species, genes and diseases, pollution, geological events and loss of genetic diversity in relation with avian species enlisted in both the international and national (Ecuador) IUCN Red List, which can be used as sentinel species of the ecosystem. Here, the status of the threatened species for the next ten years (present time up to 2028), under two scenarios, including the status quo and the avian diversity vision for the species’ conservation, was assessed.


The conceptual framework of the assessment was envisioned within the existing knowledge and projections of present and future threats to revisit current conservation efforts. Based on this evaluation, a set of management actions coupled with mitigation strategies to address new anthropogenic threats affecting the long-term survival of species in the face of global and regional environmental changes are recommended. Alternative strategies for species conservation, mainly when declining avian populations are susceptible to demographic bottlenecks or risk of extinction and when natural disasters affect ecosystem stability, are also considered.


These results should be envisioned as a guide for the evaluation and management of the avian species in the future to be replicated every decade.

Keywords: Conservation, Climate change, Human instructions, Invasive species, Diseases, Pollution, Geological events, Loss genetic diversity, Sentinel species.