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Endemic – Native or Indigenous – Exotic or Introduced – Invasive
Eradication – Control – Biological Control
Reintroduction – Repatriation – Translocation
Taxon: Species – Subspecies
Threat Categories – as defined by the IUCN
The rapid speciation of a single or a few species to fill many ecological niches; an evolutionary process driven by mutation and natural selection. It often occurs when a species arrives in a new ecosystem. In the case of isolated archipelagos, like Galapagos, when a new species becomes established, it can undergo rapid divergent evolution. Darwin’s finches and the Scalesia plants are some of the best examples of adaptive radiation in Galapagos, with many species deriving from single ancestor species.
The full range of natural variety and variability within and among living organisms, and the ecological and environmental complexes in which they occur. It encompasses multiple levels of organization, including genes, species, communities, and ecosystems. In Galapagos approximately 95% of the original biodiversity still exists.
The process of breeding rare or endangered species in human controlled environments with restricted settings, such as wildlife preserves, zoos, or other conservation facilities. Sometimes, as in the case of Galapagos, the process includes the release of individuals into the wild.
Rearing young animals in captivity; can include egg incubation. The eggs/young may be from a captive breeding program or be transferred to the captive environment directly from the wild.
In Galapagos, captive breeding and rearing is used for the Española tortoises (the 15 adults from the original population are maintained at the breeding and rearing center for annual nest and egg production) and is being initiated for both the Mangrove Finch and the Floreana mockingbird. Captive rearing is used for the other tortoise populations included in the Tortoise Center; for those populations, eggs and/or hatchlings are brought to the Center from wild nests.
An ecosystem consists of a dynamic set of living organisms (plants, animals, and microorganisms) all interacting among themselves and with the environment in which they live.
An ecosystem does not have precise boundaries – it can be as small as a pond or a dead tree, or as large as the Earth itself. An ecosystem can also be defined in terms of its vegetation, animal species, or type of relief. The major ecosystems are generally described as:
Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population over many generations. Evolution occurs within populations not individuals. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection suggests the probable mechanism by which evolution occurs.
A group of organisms of one species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time. Both research and management in Galapagos tend to focus on populations rather than species. This allows scientists and natural resource managers to work at the most conservative level, ensuring not only the survival of species but of distinct populations of species.
All activities directed at preventing the introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests or to ensure their control. Inspection and quarantine in Galapagos is a package of activities or legal measures imposed on the entry of animals, plants, agricultural products, and other organisms and micro-organisms, including the time they must remain isolated in order to prevent, control, or delay the introduction of pests potentially harmful to the archipelago.
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present but in the indefinite future.
The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity.
A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A taxon is presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon’s life cycle and life form.
A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon’s life cycle and life form.
A taxon is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Critically Endangered (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Endangered (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
A taxon is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.
A taxon is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria and does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
A taxon is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. A taxon in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution are lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing between DD and a threatened status. If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, and a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified.
A taxon is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
06.15.20 June 15, 2020 With the release of the 15 original Espa ola Island tortoises... More >
04.29.20 April 29, 2020 In March and April of this year, rangers with the Galapagos... More >
04.22.20 April 22, 2020 The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting social distancing... More >
By Caroline Cappello, PhD Candidate at the University of Washington, Godfrey... More >
By Clare Peabody, Biostatistician for the Charles Darwin Foundation’s... More >
By Lindsay Renick Mayer of Global Wildlife Conservation In February of 2019,... More >