This new feature in our blog will provide a regular “roundup” of some of the stories, photos, videos, and more that have piqued our interest from the conservation world—in the Galapagos Islands and beyond!
Global Shark Tracker
Nonprofit organization OCEARCH is on a mission to tag sharks all over the world in order to study their movement, biology, and health–and ultimately inform efforts to protect them. They recently completed an expedition to Galapagos where they tagged more than 66 sharks, including the first Tiger sharks in the history of the Galapagos Islands. Collaborators included the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Charles Darwin Foundation, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. They named a 13-foot long female Tiger shark “Yolanda,” who can be followed online using the global shark tracker (along with more than 70 other sharks around the world). Using the “world’s only oceanic lift platform,” OCEARCH scientists can conduct up to 12 studies on a live shark in a matter of minutes. Read more about shark tagging in Galapagos.
The Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels
NPR recently aired a story about the impact of climate change on Magellanic penguins in Argentina from University of Washington’s Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels. The story was based on a paper published last month by two researchers from the University of Washington’s Department of Biology–including Dr. Dee Boersma, who oversees the artificial nest project for Galapagos penguins. Dr. Boersma, whose research focuses on seabirds as indicators of environmental change, has directed the Magellanic Penguin Project at Punta Tombo, Argentina, for more than 30 years. Read more about the project.
The Shifting Galapagos Islands
“Galapagos doesn’t need globalization,” states British biologist Godfrey Merlen in his brief audio slideshow from 2012, which touches on the impact of introduced species, tourism, and other key conservation challenges that have evolved over time to threaten the unique environment that make up the Galapagos Islands. A Galapagos resident of more than 40 years, Merlen works with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Galapagos National Park Directorate, the Charles Darwin Foundation, and a handful of NGOs (including Galapagos Conservancy) to combat illegal fishing, protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and control development. Watch and listen to the slideshow.
Award-winning National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to photograph every species in zoos and aquariums—a number he estimates to be close to 7,000. The goal of this incredible effort is to show the world these animals before they become extinct, and encourage people to care about their conservation. According to the Photo Ark website, Sartore has already photographed nearly half of the species he hopes to capture, with more on the way. Check out his photos to date (which are available for purchase) and learn more about the Photo Ark project.
Underwater in the Galapagos Islands
Visitors to Galapagos have the privilege of witnessing the beauty of its animals on land and shore, but most people don’t get to experience the amazing aquatic animals in their underwater environment. Michael Stone sent us this video via Twitter featuring everything from sea turtles to sharks following his recent visit, and it’s quite a treat. View the underwater Galapagos video (change the video settings to 1080p HD for the best quality!).
Last year’s Galapagos: Nature’s Wonderland 3D is making its way to a handful of cities in the US, Mexico, Ecuador and more over the next few months, thanks to nWave Pictures’ recent distribution rights acquisition. Written and narrated by renowned naturalist David Attenborough, the film will be released to IMAX® theaters beginning this month–and looks to be quite the ride! Watch the Galapagos 3D trailer.
Let us know what you think – leave a comment below!