31 October 2008

Help save Darwin's mockingbirds

Dear readers and fellow bloggers,

Update: note new link for widgets h/t Richard Carter.

The Floreana mockingbird - the bird that inspired Darwin to doubt the 'stability of species' and therefore set him on the intellectual path towards evolution by natural selection - is under very serious threat of extinction.

This morning on the Today Programme, the Galapagos Conservation Trust launched a fundraising campaign to help save the mocker by studying, selecting and reintroducing birds from the surviving satellite populations back onto the main island of Floreana.

They only need £60,000 (as Andrew Marr, well-known BBC presenter and chairman of the GCT, said, "not everything important costs a lot of money")! Please consider helping by:
  1. making a donation at the GCT website
  2. posting one my homemade widgets (at right and below) on your blog sidebar
Together we can save Darwin's muse in the Galapagos for ourselves and future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

Thank you,


George Beccaloni (aka Wallace's Rottweiler) said...

The question though is why did the population of these mockingbirds go extinct on Floreana in the first place? If the factor which lead to the extirpation of this larger population is not removed first, then it is surely pointless to move individuals back because they will be killed off....

Anonymous said...

I've used your button on the FOCD site. Rather than linking directly to the donate page, though, I have linked to this page, which gives more background information (and has a prominent link button):

Karen James said...

@richard: noted and updated, thank you; in my own defense that page didn't exist yesterday when I made the widgets!

@george: you are right, and happily the answer is that the goats, pigs, cats and rats which caused the mockingbird's extinction on Floreana have now been exterminated thanks to a dedicated volunteer campaign on Floreana led by Felipe Cruz (I think they're still working on finishing off the rats but basically they've done it)

Anonymous said...

I'm torn. Isn't the extinction of these mockingbirds natural selection at work? Of course there's value in the birds, and it would be a shame to see them go, but whats causing their extinction?

Karen James said...

anonymous: Don't be torn. We know exactly what is causing the mockingbird to go extinct: us. The bird was doing fine up until we thought it would be very clever to introduce goats, pigs, cats and rats to Floreana in the mid-late 19th C. The bird went extinct on Floreana in the late 1800's for this reason (the pigs and goats eat the bird's favourite food and the cats and rats kill the birds rather more directly). Some could argue that since Homo sapiens is natural then extinctions like these are part of the 'natural order' but I reject that; we are sentient and can understand and predict the consequences of our actions, and therefore we have the responsibility to mitigate them where possible, to create (or maintain) the world we want to live in (and our children to live in).