Marine Rapid Response Network

Marine Rapid Response Network
PAST

PROJECT:

Marine Rapid Response Network

PARTNERS:

Galapagos National Park, Charles Darwin Foundation

STATUS:

Funded in 2012 and implemented through 2015

This sea lion would benefit from the proposed Rapid Response Network. (Ken Schulte)

 

Several factors threaten the health of many iconic marine species in the Galapagos Islands (e.g. penguins, cormorants, albatross, sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales), including the rapidly expanding human population and tourism industry, the increase in contamination, maritime traffic and import of goods to the islands, introduced species, fishing, and changes in ecosystem structure and resource availability due to climate change. However, for many years there was no emergency network in place to rapidly detect sick, injured or dead marine wildlife, nor did a systematic health monitoring system for diseases and health status exist. As a consequence, many animals that came ashore were simply left or buried on the beach, thereby losing important information about the cause of death and the health status of these species.

In 2012, scientists at the Charles Darwin Foundation created a manual to establish the basis of a rapid response/stranding network, as well as the design for a first aid facility for injured marine animals. Galapagos Conservancy is one of several organizations that helps fund the Charles Darwin Foundation’s Rapid Response Network (RRN), part of their Wildlife Health Surveillance program, with support from the Galapagos National Park Directorate. The goal of the RRN is to provide assistance with marine fauna (mammals, reptiles, and seabirds) impacted by human activities in coastal areas of the inhabited islands. In the case of sick or injured animals, it offers rapid and effective rescue, veterinary clinical care, short-term recovery and — whenever — possible, reintroduction to the wild.

In 2013, the RRN recorded a total of 74 interventions, with 33 live and 41 dead animals. Although the project focuses on marine wildlife, RRN had numerous interactions with land-based wildlife as well.

Read about the entangled sea turtle that was rescued in March 2014 as part of the RRN.