COVID-19 Update #2 from Galapagos

We hope this note finds you, your loved ones and community well.

Since the streets of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island went silent two weeks ago and our staff moved offices to the safety of their homes, the authorities have been working tirelessly to implement necessary precautions that will contain a major coronavirus outbreak on the Galapagos Archipelago. All of the scientists that were carrying out their field research at the time government announced strict preventative measures, were safely brought back to their homes.

Efforts have been made to evacuate all tourists and non-residents from the archipelago. While isolated, the Galapagos are not immune from the global outbreak, with now four confirmed cases – two on Santa Cruz and two on San Cristobal. The patients are being treated in quarantine. Meanwhile, all residents follow a strictly enforced national curfew.

As part of the Galapagos community, the Charles Darwin Foundation has been working on providing help where most needed and are in contact with the Galapagos Governing Council and the Santa Cruz Municipality to seek ways we may further assist residents at this time. CDF staff have provided public service announcements on water conservation and other important prevention topics, as well as use of a vehicle for supply distribution and educational toolkits for children in Galapagos. We stand ready to help staff and the community as needed.

While our scientists and projects continue, there is no doubt that research and outreach work will be affected by COVID-19 and the slow-down of the global economy. Suspension of fieldwork may cause data loss, especially for the projects whose fieldwork can only be carried out in March and April. Such is the case for our team focusing on the recovery of the critically endangered mangrove finch that had to suspend their study on Isabela Island. The future of this year’s fledglings is therefore uncertain.

With many challenges, CDF's scientists continue to work on their research remotely. Many are prepping for field trips that will take place immediately after the travel-ban on the islands is lifted. Others are analyzing data, planning projects, preparing academic papers and working to secure funding for programs next year. CDF continues to rely 100% on private support to carry out our mission in the archipelago, and are grateful for your ongoing contributions.

Stay-tuned and follow us on our social media, where our scientists will be sharing their activities with all of us! 

Check out our first home made video, where Maria Guerrero, Technical Assistant for Galapagos Verde 2050, a large-scale ecological restoration project led by CDF, explains how work from home looks like for her:

You can also explore our small online library and download resources we have developed for children.   

It is now more important than ever that we come together as the global community and respect the measures implemented by our leaders to protect everyone’s health. Meanwhile, our planet is able to take a breath as the everyday bustle of human activities ceases for a short while. 

Stay healthy and safe!   

With warm regards from the islands,

Charles Darwin Foundation team

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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