The authorities of the Galapagos Islands, along with the Ministry of the Environment are currently managing one of the Galapagos Island’s issues, domestic pets. A campaign of domestic pets sterilization in order to prevent the presence and offspring from street cats and dogs spread out on the islands was created. According to the last census, It´s been estimated that only in the rural areas of Santa Cruz Island there are about 600 pets. This issue is of big concern to the Galapagos National Park as they do their best to maintain the Galapagos islands’ sustainability, which is becoming more of a challenge than easy.
The first settlers were allowed to introduce all kind of animals for housing or farming purposes, when the laws and environmental concerns were not well established. Eventually, when the Galapagos National Park, and the Bio-security agency were created, along with the laws regarding the protection of the environment, then a strict control was established particularly with cats, dogs, and goats due to previous experiences that jeopardized the iconic creatures of the islands.
Among those species, the dogs and goats have been by far, the most threatening animals to the conservation of iguanas, and the big tortoise species. This is due to their high ability for smelling the presence of strangers. Dogs and goats have well developed the smelling instinct, around their zone of hunting, avoiding being caught by the Natural reserve´s rangers, or killed by snipers.
These animals became stronger, due to the lack of a bigger predator, allowing them devouring the eggs of the iguanas, and tortoises. In a matter of emergency, these endemic species were relocated temporary and in some other cases for a long term in remote islands where the presence of civilization and depredators were not available. The recent campaign, although focused mostly on domestic creatures aims to sterilize 50% of them in the islands, with the hope that this would prevent any further harm to the natural ecosystems.
Pets in the Galapagos Islands
This task relies on everyone, on those who won and do not own a pet. It is a co-existence deal everyone has to take care off. If the citizens of Galapagos do not make a strong commitment about their own local environment, everyone will make the Galapagos Islands everything but a natural wonder.
This issue is of highly importance to many other industries such as small business operating in the islands, the tourism industry, airline industry, and the ecological movements that struggle for the conservation of the environment and the effects on the world´s climate.