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Whale tagging PLASTIC RESPONSIBLE Drone power




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Cover Tail fluke of a humpback whale. Humpbacks can be seen in Galapagos during the cooler months of the year between July and November. Scientists are tagging them to gain greater understanding of the threats facing these gentle giants in the Northeast Pacific. © Lynsey Smyth


 Working with whales The early human history of Galapagos is dominated by exploitation of whales. Rather than killing them for their blubber, marine biologists are now using tracking devices to monitor their movements and understand more about how they use these waters. The Galapagos Conservation Trust’s Jen Jones describes a recent adventure to the Galapagos Marine Reserve, with additional contributions from marine biologists Hector Guzman, Alex Hearn and Hal Whitehead.


 The real costs of plastics During a recent trip to Galapagos, Britta Denise Hardesty found herself swimming with plastics. She outlines recent work that attempts to get an accurate idea of the extent of the plastic problem. Ashleigh Klingman describes the work of the Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO) Association in Galapagos, which aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution and cement new habits within the local population through a grass-roots, youth-led artistic campaign.


 UK News

T  he secrets of seamounts

The Galapagos platform is covered in seamounts, underwater islands created by volcanic activity that rise from the seafloor but never breach the surface. Patricia Martí Puig reveals the latest findings from the Galapagos Seamounts Project, a collaborative initiative to explore the ecology of these submarine communities.


 lobal relevance G The last decade has witnessed the rise of the drone. Conservation biologists are beginning to embrace this innovation. Serge Wich reveals when drones come into their own and the challenges that still lie ahead.

21-23 MMerchandise embership, Reviews, Events and 


Hector M. Guzman is a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, working in marine ecology and movement ecology of highly migratory species. His research recently led to the design and implementation of schemes to organise commercial vessels with the idea of reducing collisions with whales.



Patricia Martí Puig is a Senior Marine Scientist at the Charles Darwin Foundation. For almost ten years, she has been involved in numerous research and conservation projects globally. She is currently leading two research projects at the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which include the Seamounts and the Subtidal Ecological Monitoring.

Britta Denise Hardesty’s work has taken her to all seven continents, looking at impacts of plastic pollution on wildlife such as seabirds and turtles. She believes strongly in the contribution of communities to resolving ecological issues, and has worked with more than 8,000 citizen scientists over the last few years to help tackle the plastic pollution problem.

Ashleigh Klingman is a native of Kansas and came to Galapagos for the first time on a Fulbright scholarship in 2005 to analyse how education contributed to sustainable development. Her passion is making education about sustainable development - especially plastics prevention - fun, innovative and effective.

Serge Wich is a primatologist at Liverpool John Moores University and a honorary professor in great ape conservation at the University of Amsterdam. He has studied orang-utans for over two decades and is a founding director of the non-profit organisation


CHIEF EXECUTIVE by Sharon Johnson

© Sharon Johnson


e’re pleased to announce that Liz Bonnin, who recently presented BBC Galapagos has joined us as a GCT ambassador and will be working with us to help conserve the Islands for future generations. The series featured several projects that we support, including the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme (p.14) and highlighted the issues facing the Islands, such as the effects of plastic pollution.

This year we have started to work with partners on reducing plastic use in Galapagos. I have recently returned from the Islands and saw, first-hand, how groups like the Mola Mola Club and the Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO) Association, who we support, are engaging and educating young people about the issues surrounding plastic pollution (pp. 16-18). This outreach, combined with scientific research, is key to the success of our new plastics programme as we work towards a sustainable future for the Archipelago. This year’s Galapagos Day on 25 October (p. 23) will be themed around inspiring conservation through education and sustainability and we’re thrilled that Liz Bonnin will be hosting it. Liz said, “The Galapagos Islands are truly unique. However, despite their remoteness, they are sadly not immune to our human footprint. Having seen first-hand how the pressures of the modern world are affecting Galapagos, I am looking

forward to helping the Galapagos Conservation Trust raise awareness of these threats and to communicate what each one of us can do, in a very practical way, to protect this precious place for generations to come”. The Galapagos Islands keep surprising us, and the projects we support have had some exciting break-throughs. The Galapagos Whale Shark Project (GWSP) team recently had a global first by successfully obtaining ultrasound and blood tests from wild whale sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Once the results have been analysed we should know, finally, whether the whale sharks visiting Wolf and Darwin islands are indeed mostly pregnant females as has long been suspected (p. 6). In another first, our projects manager, Jen Jones, joined an expedition aiming to tag whales in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. With a wide range of experts, including one of the leaders of GWSP Alex Hearn, they were able to tag a pygmy blue whale for the first

time (pp. 8-11). I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous support for our Endangered Galapagos Appeal, which has raised an incredible £10,000 to date. This money is vital for protecting those species most endangered in Galapagos, such as the mangrove finch. We are delighted to confirm the first sightings of breeding behaviour by finches reared in captivity through the Mangrove Finch Project and then reintroduced, important evidence that the project is making strides towards increasing the mangrove finch population size (p. 14). Tickets are still available for Galapagos Day so I hope to see you there! Thank you for your ongoing support and I hope you enjoy this latest issue of Galapagos Matters.

Sharon Johnson Chief Executive

Galapagos Matters is a copyright biannual publication produced for members of the Galapagos Conservation Trust. The information in this issue was ISSN 2050-6074 Galapagos Matters Printer: Bishops Printers obtained from various sources, all is printed on paper made from well of which have extensive knowledge managed forests and controlled Charles Darwin Suite, of Galapagos, but neither GCT nor sources. 28 Portland Place, London W1B 1LY the contributors are responsible Editor: Henry Nicholls 020 7399 7440 for the accuracy of the contents Chief Executive: Sharon Johnson or the opinions expressed herein. Communications and Marketing Officer: Clare Simm





WILD GALAPAGOS Carlos Cuenca Solana photographed this swallowtailed gull majestically landing on the cliffs on a radiant morning near La Loberia, San Cristobal. The majority of the species nests on the Galapagos Islands but when not breeding they can be found along the west coast of mainland South America. The birds mostly forage for squid at night, and their large eyes are specifically adapted for this low-light hunting. This image won first place in the Animal Portrait category of our 2017 photography competition. Our 2018 calendar is now available containing this, and other images from our 2017 photography competition. Find out more on page 23.






© David Acuña


alapagos conservationists have become the first team to carry out ultrasound scans on whale sharks in the wild. The findings could help solve one of the enduring mysteries of whale shark biology: where the females give birth. Since 2011, the Galapagos Whale Shark Project (GWSP) has been working to improve the scientific understanding of whale sharks in the Archipelago and the measures needed to protect them within the wider Eastern Tropical Pacific region. The population visiting the Islands and congregating around Darwin and Wolf islands in the north of the Galapagos Marine Reserve seems to be unique in that the majority of individuals appear to be pregnant females. Up until now, however,



this has been impossible to establish. In July, GWSP researchers (in partnership with the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the Galapagos National Park, the University of San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Massey University and Okinawa Churashima Foundation) revealed that they had succeeded in capturing ultrasound images from three female sharks and blood samples from both a male and a female. “Almost nothing is known about the reproductive ecology of whale sharks. No pupping grounds have ever been identified, and the only pregnant female ever to have been analysed, found in Asia, carried over 300 pups, all at different stages of development,” says Alex Hearn, a marine biologist at the USFQ and one of

the leaders of the GWSP. “For years, we have suspected that the females in Galapagos are pregnant, and that they may give birth over an extended period of time and spatial area, out in the ocean. However, as yet, all this has been speculation. At last, with the successful testing of ultrasound scans and blood extraction in the wild, we have the tools to really examine this idea.” If the females prove to be pregnant, this research, combined with ongoing tracking of their migration routes, could have huge implications for the future management of these endangered creatures, which are hunted globally for their meat and fins and listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

© Rosemary and Peter Grant







eter and Rosemary Grant have received the Royal Society’s prestigious Royal Medal for their research on the ecology and evolution of Darwin’s finches in Galapagos. “Our research has demonstrated evolution of birds in a natural environment, and by integrating genomics with ecological and behavioural studies, it has provided a deeper understanding into how and why this planet is so extraordinarily rich in biodiversity,” says Rosemary Grant, emeritus professor at Princeton University.

n August, Ecuadorian authorities detained crew from a Chinese fishing boat which was suspected to have been illegally fishing in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The boat was found to be carrying 300 tonnes of fish, most of which was sharks, including the endangered scalloped hammerhead shark for which Galapagos is famous. It is thought that the catch was destined for the Chinese market where shark fin is considered a delicacy. At the time of publishing, the crew were in custody pending court proceedings.



he Floreana Restoration Programme is continuing to work towards the eradication of invasive species on the island. Containers have been delivered to the farms that will be affected by the eradication event which will be used to house livestock food to protect them from ingesting bait meant for rodents. In addition, the farms are starting to be provided with chicken coops which will help keep chickens safe during the eradication. In the long-term, these measures will improve the sustainability of the farmers’ livelihoods.

© Anne Parr

enín Moreno has succeeded Rafael Correa as president of Ecuador, after winning the elections by a narrow margin in April this year. Like Correa, Moreno is a member of the left-wing democratic socialist party Alianza PAIS. In June, Moreno appointed the former Minister of the Environment Lorena Tapia as the new governor of Galapagos, suggesting the new administration intends to keep the conservation of Galapagos at the centre of its environmental policy.

© Alex Hearn


By 2070, the area of suitable habitat for the alien species guava Psidium guajava on Santa Cruz will have moved down the gradient by around 1500 m, advancing at a rate of almost 30 m per year, researchers predict. Giant tortoises – well known for dispersing seeds owing to their long digestion time and with wide-ranging movements – could facilitate this spread, report Diego EllisSoto and colleagues in the journal PLoS ONE. At present, many invasive plants are confined to the highlands and though tortoises transport their seeds to the lowlands, the dry conditions means they do not germinate. With climate change and increased moisture, however, this could change with the guava (and possibly other alien species) invading the lowlands and threatening many of the arid-adapted species that live there.

© Jack Mifflin


It’s only recently that marine biologists confirmed the existence of the southern ocean sunfish Mola ramsayi in Galapagos. Now, researchers have published the first data on the behaviour and movements of this enigmatic species in these waters. Since the late 1990s, there have been repeated sightings at what appears to be a cleaning station (where the sunfish come to have their parasites removed by other fish) off the northwest tip of Isabela. Tracking of an individual with

satellite tags reveals that it travelled almost 3000 km to the northwest of Galapagos over the course of about 50 days, occasionally diving to depths of over 1000 m. Ultrasound tags on this and other individuals indicate that the sunfish keep returning to the cleaning station, the researchers report in the Journal of Marine Biology. Last year, researchers succeeded in fitting several more individuals with tracking devices, which will help give further insights into the behavioural ecology of M. ramsayi in Galapagos (see Galapagos Matters, Spring/Summer 2017).


For the first time in the Galapagos Islands, traffic lights have been installed to manage the increasing amount of traffic in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Although some residents are not impressed, others are glad to see road safety measures being introduced such as pedestrian crossings and cycle paths.


GCT President Monty Halls is taking his family to Galapagos this autumn to film a new series for Channel 4 called My Family and Galapagos. Featuring projects that GCT supports, this series is due to air in spring 2018.




by Jen Jones

© Emma Karlok

Ballena, Ballena, BALLENA!” The speedboat swerves suddenly, almost throwing equipment and people (myself included) overboard.

Survey boat GPS tracks



After three long days of searching, we have finally spotted a whale a few miles off the south coast of Floreana. The chase is on to become the first team to tag a whale in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. As is always the case in Galapagos, we had witnessed some incredible spectacles already. Scanning the horizon from the top deck of the fishing boat that we were calling home for the week-long expedition, we had seen a raft of around 100 waved albatrosses on the water, floating their way towards Espanola and the breeding season. On another occasion, large pods of playful bottlenose dolphins surfed in our wake. We were frequently entertained by rays doing elaborate acrobat-like flips out of the water. However now it was down to the business of trying to tag a whale. “There!” The magnificent animal surfaces again and lets out a huge whoosh as it exhales. The slow, deep grey ridge of its back creates an arc over the top of the waves, eventually revealing its dorsal fin before disappearing back into the blue. What kind of whale is it? With so fleeting

a glimpse, it’s not possible to be sure, but we have photos which will allow us to make an identification. The team is buzzing with anticipation. The speedboat swerves again to get within tagging distance. All of us are scouring the water for the next breach of the leviathan that, due to its immensity and swimming strength, might reappear at any moment in any location. In spite of being thrown unforgivingly around the speedboat, Julio Vizuete, a skilled pilot, is in control of a drone that is looking down on us from above, helping us to see the bigger picture. Hector Guzman, a whale researcher based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (see p10), has tagged almost 100 humpback whales and knows better than anyone on board what the whale beneath us is likely to do next. Alex Hearn, a marine biologist at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito on mainland Ecuador and co-leader of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project, is an expert spotter and has a wealth of experience in marine surveying techniques (see p9).

We see three more whales that evening with multiple sightings of each, but do not succeed in tagging any of them. They turned out to be fin whales and are most likely feeding in the productive waters in the south of the Galapagos Marine Reserve during a migration, though nobody knows precisely where they have come from or where they are heading. This trip has been organised by MigraMar (, a network of scientists studying the migrations of marine megafauna in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, including whales, sharks and manta rays. As migratory species cannot be confined to protected areas in one country’s jurisdiction such as in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, effective management is only possible if we have a better understanding of their movements. In practice, this means learning from individual animals, tracking them with technology like GPS loggers

and acoustic tags to reveal the most important migratory pathways. It is only with this evidence that we can argue the case for new protective corridors. The perseverance of the team pays off. The following day, we are able to tag a whale in the Galapagos Marine Reserve for the first time. It turns out to be a pygmy blue whale, a sub-species of the famous ocean giant, the blue whale, but growing up to 24m in length the pygmy blue is hardly small. As she was tagged just off Floreana, an island famous for being home to Eloise Wagner de Bosquet, a self-styled “Baroness” in the 1930s (star of the film The Galapagos Affair), the team named the whale the “Blue Baroness”. The plan is to return to the field in 2018, aiming to tag more whales to follow their journeys as we piece together their stories and work to protect them into the future.


E Drone image of a pygmy blue

lsewhere in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the Galapagos National Park and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) are using drones to map several sites around the island of San Cristobal that appear to be important nursery grounds for blacktip sharks. With the help of aerial footage, we hope to determine if these nurseries persist from year to year and whether they increase the prospects of growth and survival for the sharks.

whale that was tagged off the coast of Floreana.


The juvenile shark monitoring project also provides a fantastic opportunity to involve students in some of the fieldwork and analysis. This year, we were proud to watch USFQ student Yasuni Chiriboga explain the importance of nursery grounds to presenter and Galapagos Conservation Trust ambassador Liz Bonnin in the recent BBC series Galapagos. For her undergraduate research thesis, Yasuni has been surveying four potential nursery areas over two seasons, using an array of underwater receivers and electronic tags to track the movements of several blacktips in order to compare the relative importance of these sites. For other shark species, the lives of juveniles are an even greater mystery. In the case of the endangered scalloped hammerheads that aggregate around Darwin and Wolf islands, for instance, only a handful of juveniles have ever been observed, leading our research team to

develop the regional MigraMar network ( with the aim of establishing migratory routes between Galapagos, some of the other oceanic islands and known nursery grounds along the coastal lagoons of central America. This year we had a major breakthrough, identifying a lagoon on the northern coast of San Cristobal where we can consistently catch small numbers of young hammerheads, measuring only around 50 cm long. In June, we were able to attach a small electronic tag to one of these sharks and track its movements for several hours. This proof-of-concept will allow us to develop a full research proposal aimed at determining the movement patterns and health of these (very cute) little sharks and how best to protect them during this vulnerable stage in their lives.

(Left) A juvenile blacktip shark is released back into the ocean after being measured for research.

(Right) Tagging a juvenile hammerhead shark for the first time to determine the movement patterns of these vulnerable animals.

© Alex Hearn

© Alex Hearn




HOW (AND WHY) TO TAG A WHALE by Hector Guzman


© Pline-CC BY-SA 3.0

agging a whale is not easy, but it’s incredibly important if we are to reduce some of the many threats posed to these incredible creatures.

Whales are vulnerable to collisions from large ships which often follow the same routes as their migration paths.

Every year, for instance, humpback whales migrate from the north and southern hemispheres to overwinter off the west coast of Central America, particularly Panama and Costa Rica. However these waters are also amongst the busiest shipping lanes in the world, with routes that are travelled several thousand times a year by some of the largest cargo vessels and tankers in existence. The chances of a collision – usually fatal to the whale – are likely to be high. Several years ago, we began to tag humpback whales wintering in the Gulf of Panama to get a more precise idea of the threat posed by cargo vessels to these animals. In order to deploy a satellite transmitter safely, we need to get to within 5 m of the animal, ideally even closer. We attach the transmitters in a thick layer of blubber a short distance below the dorsal fin to minimize potential injury to the animals. These devices only stay on the animal for a short period, likely a few months. We now have data from almost 100 individuals tagged from Mexico to Chile, including Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador, and have been able to overlay and model their movements with the tracks of shipping vessels to see how often they coincide. The results are alarming, with individual whales typically

coming within 200 m of a ship at least once and sometimes many times every day in the case of vessels entering the Gulf of Panama. One whale we tracked experienced 45 of these close encounters in just four days. These and other findings are invaluable, both to us and, we hope, to the whales themselves. As a result, the International Marine Organization (IMO) has introduced changes to the way ships are routed that we estimate could reduce the frequency of collisions by 90%. In addition Panama implemented a seasonal reduction in speed to 10 knots for all vessels passing through the danger zones at the peak of the breeding season. The ideal scenario is to continue using the existing database to design and implement similar measures in Ecuador and Peru. In Galapagos, the risk of collision with vessels has also been reduced since the IMO adopted an outer ring around the Marine Reserve. Nevertheless, it is still important that we start tracking whales and find out about their movements and connectivity with other overwintering and feeding areas. It is only by doing so that we will have the scientific evidence on which to base policy changes that can lead to real protection for these enigmatic creatures.

© Tomas Kotouc






he presence of sperm whales off Galapagos was first brought to wide attention by Captain James Colnett of the British Navy who visited the Islands in 1793. He was followed by fleets of Yankee and European whalers, who killed sperm whales off Galapagos through much of the 19th century. The whaling industry hardly touched the Galapagos sperm whales during the 20th century, although during the height of modern whaling between the 1950s and 1970s, sperm whaling was intense and unsustainable off Chile and Peru, within the range of the Galapagos specimens.

Š Alpheus Hyatt Verrill [Public domain]

I first started studying sperm whales off the Galapagos Islands in 1985, only a few years after the end of Peruvian whaling. We went to Galapagos looking for somewhere with sperm whales and calm weather where we could study their behaviour. It worked well, and, for a while, we returned every two years, learning a lot about this species. The animals spent most of their time foraging, looking for squid in deep waters to the west and north of the Islands. However sperm whales, especially female sperm whales, are intensely social so they also made time for interacting with each other, and this became a major focus of our

study. Intriguingly, we found that the sperm whales off Galapagos could be divided into two distinct cultural clans, which differed in many aspects of their behaviour and never associated. In the 1990s, sperm whales suddenly became harder to find in Galapagos and by the end of the decade there were some males but hardly any females. We, and others, found that several of the animals seen in Galapagos in the 1980s resurfaced off continental America, from Northern Chile to Mexico, but we can only speculate why they moved. Sightings of this species remained scarce in

Galapagos throughout the 2000s, but in recent years they have been on the increase. In 2013 and 2014, we returned to Galapagos to find that the sperm whales were indeed back, but things had changed. They were occupying waters to the south of the Archipelago rather than to the north and west, and all the animals appeared to be different from those we’d seen in the 1980s and 1990s. Even more startlingly, we found that while there were still two clans, they were ones we had previously observed elsewhere in the Pacific. Again, we can only speculate as to why; these are most intriguing creatures!



© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Charles Darwin Foundation.



Deep Rover 2 on the peak of a seamount at 80m below the surface.

by Patricia Martí Puig


verything is dark, deep and cold in the Galapagos that Charles Darwin never saw. The submersible Deep Rover 2 descends to the Galapagos platform, far below the surface of the ocean.

From the vantage point of the spherical cockpit, the sandy sea floor looks deserted and it feels like we could be in a spacecraft exploring an empty planet light years away from Earth. Then, the submersible’s beams pick up some movement, a catshark, and suddenly, looming out of the void, there is a mountain of colour: corals, sponges, crabs, lobsters, sea cucumbers and much, much more, a mosaic of life forms eking out an existence in the twilight zone, an otherworldly ecosystem that few humans have ever set eyes on. This is a seamount, an underwater island formed by volcanic activity that rises from the seafloor but never breaches the surface. It is estimated that there could be around 100,000 seamounts dotted around the world’s oceans, ranging in height from 100 m hills to Everestlike mountains of 10 km. These structures can be incredibly productive, hotspots of biodiversity that attract marine invertebrates, fish and top predators. With their promise of new and intriguing species and prospects for fishing, mining and tourism, these underwater islands attract humans too. Given the remote location of the Galapagos Archipelago and the protection

offered by the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), the 350 or so seamounts on the Galapagos platform are thought to be well preserved relative to those elsewhere in the world, which are threatened by trawling, oil and gas exploration, deep-sea mining and climate change. Yet as growth continues in Galapagos, with the population and visitor numbers continuing to rise, so the pressures on the GMR and its seamounts are likely to increase. In 2015, the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and Galapagos National Park (GNP) launched the Seamounts Research Project in collaboration with several international institutions to produce the first ever comprehensive description of these mysterious ecosystems of the deep. So far, the project has resulted in four expeditions, using several research vessels and working with different partners, including the Ocean Exploration Trust, National Geographic and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. We have used multi-beam sonar to map the contours of 70 seamounts in exacting detail at depths of between 200 m and 3400 m. We have deployed submersibles and remotely operated underwater vehicles to record

© Ocean Exploration Trust/Charles Darwin Foundation



A bizarre sponge, with a unique shish kebab-like structure, collected at over 1000 m below the surface using the arm of a remotely operated underwater vehicle. This appears to be a completely new species and one that may need an entirely new genus.

© Ocean Exploration Trust/Charles Darwin Foundation

The invertebrate fauna found at 450 m is an exquisite assembly of form and colour.

more than 100 hours of video footage and capture photographs from over 25 of these seamounts. We are characterising the invertebrate communities and fish of these deep-sea ecosystems for the very first time. We are assessing the socioeconomic value of seamounts and have an outreach campaign to communicate our findings to the local community. In collaboration with international taxonomists, CDF researchers are currently identifying almost 500 specimens collected from the deep, well over half of which have never been seen in the Galapagos Islands before and many of which might turn out to be entirely new species, previously unknown to science. From these initial findings, it is clear that we have only scratched the surface of this enigmatic and beautiful underwater world within the GMR, but it is information that is crucial for establishing a reference point that we can use in the future. These and other data will inform the GNP in its management of these unique communities, helping to preserve them and the benefits they bring to the local population for future generations.


NEWS © Sarah Langford



ver the summer we partnered with Erasmus Darwin House in Lichfield on a Galapagos-themed educational exhibition. The house was once home to Charles Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus, a doctor, inventor and poet. The exhbition, put together by GCT’s education writer Sarah Langford, explored the unique adaptations of Galapagos wildlife and how current ground-breaking scientific research is helping to conserve iconic species, including giant tortoises and whale sharks. Suitable for all ages it featured a visual journey through images of islands, scientific explorations and adventures. Arts and crafts activities were also available based around material from our online education resource ‘Discovering Galapagos’ and will be adapted for our education partners to use in Galapagos too. Although the exhibition is now finished, our Discovering Galapagos website is available to explore all year round:



uring the Easter Holidays in April, Galapagos Conservation Trusts’s Jade Holloway attended the fantastic “Sea the Difference” event at the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth, engaging local children and adults in Galapagos shark conservation. Since 2016, the NMA has funded the Galapagos Bullhead Shark Project, an initiative that aims to reveal more about this small shark in order to assist in its management. The success so far would not have been possible without the continued partnership with NMA and the support of GCT members. To find out more about the Galapagos Bullhead Shark Project visit



here is a growing global conservation optimism movement, with conservationists determined to share conservation success stories rather than just focus on constant bad news. With all the good news coming out of Galapagos, it made sense for GCT’s Jen Jones and Clare Simm to attend the first Conservation Optimism Summit in April and showcase some of our education projects, including the fantastic work that is being done to inspire children and young adults on the Islands. It was a great event for networking with like-minded individuals and to learn positive tips from the experts. Visit to learn more about the movement.



t is with great sadness that we announce the death of Nigel Sitwell, one of the founder trustees of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, who passed away in April this year. Noted for his travels to nearly 100 countries, Nigel first visited the Galapagos Islands in 1967, and returned many times. He was Chairman of GCT from 1997– 2006, and remained closely involved with the organisation afterwards as an ambassador. In his professional life, he was editor and publisher of the magazine Wildlife (which became BBC Wildlife) for 17 years and worked for WWF-UK as Director of Information. He also served on the Council of the Zoological Society of London, was a long-time Trustee of Survival International and was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark for services to nature conservation. A Tribute Fund for Nigel has been set up and the money donated will support future conservation ambassadors of Galapagos – providing local people with the skills and knowledge they need to be able to ensure the sustainability of the Islands. If you’d like to donate to this fund, please visit or contact us in the office.

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e continue to support the plight of the critically endangered mangrove finch. This year’s team comprised five staff members and volunteers from the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), four members of San Diego Zoo and Auckland Zoo, and rangers of the Galapagos National Park (GNP).

A captive-reared finch re-sighted in the wild.

The Mangrove Finch Project is a bi-institutional project carried out by CDF and GNP in collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global, Auckland Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The project is supported by Galapagos Conservation Trust, Marguerite Griffith-Jones, GESS Charitable Trust, Decoroom Limited, and Holbeck Charitable Trust, Foundation Ensemble, Friends of Galapagos Switzerland, The Prince Bernhard Nature Fund, Individual donors via the International Community Foundation, The Leona M. And Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and the British Embassy in Ecuador.




upporters of GCT will likely be familiar with our long-term collaborators the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme, led by Dr Stephen Blake with partners including the Galapagos National Park, Charles Darwin Foundation, St Louis Zoo and Houston Zoo. Thanks to generous grants from the British Chelonia Group and the Woodspring Trust and the support of our members, we have made great progress in the study of the lost years of giant tortoises – an insight into their lives in the first few, most vulnerable years. In 2017, we are extending this project to work with the farming community in Santa Cruz to document the interactions between giant tortoises and private land owners. By tracking tortoise migrations through these lands and modelling tortoise-crop interactions, we aim to improve our understanding of how best to manage these areas to protect tortoises.



© D. Anchundia

This year, the arid conditions on Isabela where the finches live resulted in fewer nesting pairs than usual, though it was still possible to collect chicks from nests and bring them into captivity. Excitingly, the field team has confirmed that at least five finches reared in captivity and then reintroduced to Isabela in previous years are alive and well and two of them have paired up with wild birds and are breeding. “The observation of captive-reared finches surviving in the wild in the long term and also seeing two of these individuals reproducing as part of the wild population shows that the head starting programme is reaching the goal of increasing the population size of the mangrove finch”, says Francesca Cunninghame, a CDF scientist and coordinator of the Mangrove Finch Project.

© Jen Jones


e are proud to report that GCT is collaborating with an Archipelago-wide teacher-training programme in Galapagos, aiming to support capacity building with all 470 teachers across the 22 schools in the Islands. This public-private partnership between Galapagos Conservancy, the Scalesia Foundation, the Ministry of Education, Galapagos Governing Council and GCT is a five-year programme that aims to improve educational leadership, provide subject-specific training and support extra-curricular education relating to the environment. In June this year, GCT co-funded a science workshop where expert educators from Ecuador, Colombia and the US came together to deliver sessions that helped 300 Galapagos teachers to develop active, participatory learning strategies for their students and connect lessons with sustainability and conservation themes. This is the third of these five-day teacher-training workshops in the last two years and the enthusiasm of teachers is tangibly growing as they begin to see the benefits. It is also a great opportunity for teachers from different schools and different islands to get together to share ideas and progress. Next year, we are looking to continue this collaboration with a specific workshop on sustainability and conservation to increase the links between NGOs and educators. Discovering Galapagos teaching materials that are now linked with the Ecuadorian curriculum will be heavily featured.



© Sai Pathmanathan

Children taking part in World Turtle Day. © Sai Pathmanathan

o complement our work in supporting improvements in formal education, we are also developing our wider outreach programme to enable more community members to experience the Galapagos National Park and engage directly with conservation. With Anne Guezou, our consultant outreach coordinator based on Santa Cruz island, we have delivered summer holiday field activities for over 75 children aged from six to twelve, giving many of them their first experience of the National Park and practical environmental education. In May, we took part in a very successful event to mark World Turtle Day, with nine visiting school classes (approximately 270 children) learning about giant tortoises and sea turtles through practical activities. This was a collaboration between Ecology Project International, the Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos National Park and GCT and we will be

exploring how to make the most of this collaboration in future years. In July, we began a six-month collaboration with Tomas de Berlanga School on Santa Cruz, with 15-year-old student volunteers producing communications materials based on giant tortoise conservation research. On San Cristobal, we are working with the Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO) Association (see page 16) and we are currently scoping out the most effective way to support outreach on both Isabela and Floreana to support environmental education across the whole Archipelago.

If you would like to support any of our projects, please contact projects manager Jen Jones (




© Juan Pablo Muñoz

THE REAL COS by Britta Denise Hardesty


he first time I became aware of the impact of plastics on seabirds was when I visited Midway Atoll in the north Pacific in the 1990s.

I walked on supposedly pristine shores, much like Galapagos. However, I have photos of dead albatrosses from Midway with tremendous numbers of plastics – and many of those plastic pieces were readily identifiable. There were cigarette lighters, plastic lids to bottles, an entire toothbrush and lots of other items that certainly didn’t belong in the diet of a beautiful seabird with a wingspan of two metres and more. The Galapagos, or waved, albatross feeds quite similarly to those on Midway and also traverses the world’s oceans during its annual migration. I also first visited the Galapagos Islands in the 1990s and was struck by how beautiful and clean the beaches were. I snorkelled with penguins, watched from

underwater as boobies dived nearby looking for their meals, and swam with sea lions as they frolicked and came up to inspect me. However my recent visit in 2016 found me swimming in azure blue waters with bright red floating plastic lids, soft film-like plastics (such as are eaten preferentially by sea turtles), and reflecting on how much our oceans have changed in so short a time. For the last decade, my research has focused on plastics – large and small, often referred to as macro (larger than 5 mm) and microplastics (smaller than 5 mm). Larger pieces of plastic can be eaten by bigger birds but also break down, through exposure to ultraviolet light and abrasion on the shoreline, into ever-smaller bits that can be consumed by

Approximately eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter the sea each year



ST OF PLASTICS © Monty Halls

ever-smaller and hence more numerous species. Seabirds are called sentinels of ocean health or ‘indicator species’. This means we look to these magnificent birds – whether frigatebirds that are called the ‘pirates of the sea’ because they steal fish from other birds, Galapagos penguins who fly underwater, red-footed and blue-footed boobies with their brilliantly coloured feet – to tell us about the health of our marine systems. If these species are eating plastics, given how far away from land they feed, this tells us our human debris or litter is extracting too high a cost on the planet. Seabirds and other marine mammals are innocent consumers. They don’t set out to eat a plastic dinner, but instead mistake plastic for their normal prey items. We want to find out how much plastic Galapagos seabirds are eating, and to ask what the impact of this ‘plastic diet’ might be having on these species. We do this by taking a swab from the preening gland of a bird. You’ve probably watched birds in your garden ‘preen’ or rub their bill along their feathers. When they do this, they are waterproofing their feathers with oil from this gland (located just above the tail). With special equipment, we can see if the preen gland oil contains chemical components used in plastic manufacturing. By understanding what species are eating plastic (and perhaps how much plastic is in their diet) we can learn a bit more about which ocean basins and which species are most impacted by our trash. We sampled six species of seabird last year, and another few species this year. We’re asking questions about which species are ingesting more or less plastic, how do those birds feed, and do we think they’re picking up plastic in proportion to what is in their environment, or are they ‘seeking it out’? One research team recently showed that plastic ‘smells good’ to seabirds (many of them search for food based on smell or olfaction). If a plastic meal smells like squid, for example,

A red-billed tropicbird, one of the species in the study.




birds that love squid are more likely to eat plastic than species that hunt for food by sight. In addition, birds that feed on the ocean’s surface are more likely to eat floating plastic by mistake. Plastic production is growing exponentially. We have made as much plastic in the last ten years as was made from the time plastics came into use in the 1950s until that point. If current trends continue, it’s been estimated that by 2050 some 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic. Is this the world in which we want to live? As consumers, we can make choices that make a difference; from everyday simple acts like bringing our own bags and refusing plastic bags, to buying products from companies whose sustainability practices we support, to bringing our own coffee cup and not taking single-use plastic items. We can refuse to buy toothpaste that has plastic in it and facial scrubs that use plastic microbeads to wash our face. Solutions are plentiful and consumers have the power to demand what they want from the manufacturers.

THE PLASTIC-FREE OCEAN by Ashleigh Klingman


he high-school students look dumbfounded. They are reviewing the list of Galapagos marine animals affected by plastics through ingestion or entanglement. “You mean the same tragedy befalling marine birds worldwide could also be happening to the waved albatross and other species in Galapagos?!”

© Nina Sletmo

Unfortunately, yes. The plastic plague has spread across all the oceans of the planet, even reaching Antarctica. Approximately eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters the sea each year, and unless there are improvements to the way we manage waste, the quantity of plastics currently in the oceans is projected to more than double by 2025, just eight years from now. At this rate and with continuing overfishing, it’s been estimated that the mass of plastic in the ocean will outweigh that of fish by 2050. Microplastics are being passed up the food chain, accumulating from one species to the next and eventually ending up in humans. In spite of its splendid isolation, the plastic problem is very much evident in Galapagos. In 2015, for instance, the Galapagos Governing Council interviewed shopkeepers across the four inhabited islands and estimated that more than eight million shopping bags and one million Styrofoam containers are used in Galapagos every year. This is clearly affecting local species. We have witnessed sea lions playing with plastic bags and researchers have dissected many dead animals, including albatrosses, and green and hawksbill



turtles, to find plastic objects in their gizzards. Scientists at the Galapagos Science Center and the Galapagos National Park have evidence that plastic debris has a negative impact on at least 18 species in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. For Galapagos residents and visitors, these statistics are shocking. However there are things that can be done. The Galapagos Governing Council followed up on its findings by imposing an Archipelago-wide ban on the use of plastic bags, a policy that has been relatively successful on the most populated island of Santa Cruz. Since 2009, each of the four main islands has also had a system in place for the separation and treatment of waste. However the sheer volume of plastic that enters the waste system calls for a still deeper cultural change. The Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO) Association project “Going back for a plastic-free ocean” seeks to cement new habits through a grassroots, youth-led artistic campaign. By empowering local children and young adults as agents of change to spread the word to their peers and families, we have expanded our team from

THE REAL COST OF PLASTICS three to 20 and the extent of our outreach by an order of magnitude. We are now working to reduce plastic use in high-school cafeterias, carrying out neighbourhood visits, promoting reusable bags in shops and hotels and designing new public dustbins. We have created a touring puppet show, which has delivered the message about plastics to more than 500 local residents. We run regular artistic workshops and have arranged two community trash clean-ups, working with visiting groups from Denmark and the US to stop more than 1500 pieces of rubbish from entering the Galapagos Marine Reserve. By December 2017, we hope to have halved the plastic bag use of at least 1000 participants and reduced the amount of rubbish on the streets, in public parks and on beaches by 25%. While bigger non-profit groups might push for mass media campaigns, we at GECO understand the importance of a different approach for a mundane issue that most people dismiss as unimportant or unchangeable. Only through personalized discussion and encouraging people to think differently will we motivate personal change that collectively translates to systemic change. Our oceans are dying. We have to take action to decrease the direct harm to the Galapagos Marine Reserve and inspire similar action in the bigger polluters like China, the United States, Brazil and others. We can all do more to go back to a plastic-free ocean.




hat will the oceans look like when I have my children? Will my babies’ stomachs be filled with microplastics like the albatross chicks’ gizzards are filled with plastic bottle caps? After learning about the calamity of plastics in our oceans, I am committed to the “Going back for a plastic-free ocean” campaign that we co-created with other young agents of change. This project isn’t just another after-school activity to keep us busy; it’s about empowering disenfranchised Galapagos youth to stand up for our islands, our marine reserve and our future. For these reasons, I came up with the plastic bottle-cap doll key ring. This backpack decoration symbolizes our commitment to reducing the toxic impact plastics have on our lives. It serves to remind us how something so small and senseless as a bottle-cap can destroy the life of something as beautiful as the waved albatross.

Double-sided poster funded by GCT to hang up in shops on San Cristobal island. It translates as ‘going back for a plastic-free ocean.’

Galapagos Conservation Trust are gathering a powerful partnership of conservation managers, education specialists, and some of the world’s top scientists in the field of marine plastics to tackle the issue of plastic pollution in Galapagos before it’s too late. Find out more, including how to help us, on page 22. AUTUMN | WINTER 2017


© Serge Wich



t’s early morning, the first rays of sun hit the canopy of the northern Sumatran forest and above the emerald green canopy the mountains become visible from the little field where we stand. The morning chorus of the gibbons is loud from the nearby forest. A little earlier the booming call of a male orang-utan made us smile. The small fixed-wing drone is already cruising quietly above the forests to take photos of orang-utan nests. The use of unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs) for conservation began in earnest in the early 2000s when researchers deployed these systems to study a variety of waterbird species but their high costs put them out of reach of most researchers. With UAVs and spare parts increasingly affordable and available off-the-shelf, there has been a rapid growth in using drones for conservation. A decade ago most devices on the market carried a relatively simple camera. The miniaturisation of multispectral and thermal cameras has changed all that and UAVs are now deployed to address many different



questions from locating animals to assisting in the calculation of land cover. My involvement with drones began in 2011, when I met up with Lian Pin Koh, an ecologist then working at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. We were discussing the impact of oil palm plantations on biodiversity and on orang-utans in particular and trying to come up with a better, more cost-effective way to carry out surveys. Within a few months, we were flying a do-it-yourself UAV over the Sumatran forest, a drone that we fitted with a camera to take photographs of orangutan nests from above. We also founded to further the use of UAVs to assist with conservation. It is hard to not be amazed by how rapidly the technology has developed since then. Nowadays, it is easy to get hold of quite sophisticated multirotor or fixed-wing devices at an affordable price. Although most data collection is still done with cameras exploiting the visible spectrum, thermal and multispectral cameras are becoming increasingly common. Improvements in batteries have extended the flight duration of multirotor systems so that it’s possible to travel further afield while benefitting from small take-off and landing areas, increasing the opportunities for data collection still further. Unfortunately, there is – as yet – no off-theshelf software able to count trees, animals

by Serge Wich

or other objects on drone images, so the data analysis must be performed manually or expert programming and analyses need to be conducted which is off limits to most conservation organisations using drones. The time-consuming and costly process of scouring thousands of images is therefore a major bottleneck constraining the use of this approach in a conservation context. In addition, the regulations governing drones can vary widely from country to country. In some cases, the regulatory framework can be unnecessarily restrictive. In others, it is virtually non-existent. In the near future, it is likely there will be hybrid drones that take off like multirotors and then continue to fly as a fixed-wing system. These will be fitted with solar cells to increase flight duration and fly in wellcoordinated swarms to cover large areas. Data from the sensors will be transmitted to the ground in real time and there will be user-friendly software to assist with analysis. A global regulatory framework governing drones, similar to that of manned aircraft, would allow qualified pilots to operate anywhere in the world. Such developments would allow conservationists to monitor animals and detect potential poachers over large areas of otherwise inaccessible or costly-to-access terrain. The range of applications for conservation is as varied as the biodiversity we seek to protect.


by Rob Chetwood


t is our duty to reunite our members with the colourful wildlife and stunning scenery of Galapagos because there is so much to gain from preserving this special place, and quite simply we mustn’t forget! Although the majority of our members will be thousands of miles from Galapagos, we hope that our magazine brings some of your memories back to life.


elcome to the second in the series of our members’ blog where we will be continuing to invite our inspirational members to tell us their Galapagos stories. This edition sees a colourful account from our very own Jackie Hunter, who has been a life member since 2007. Here is a snippet from the blog but if you would like to read the full version please visit our website. It really is worth the read! ‘Since I was very young (too many years ago!) I was fascinated by nature and read voraciously because I was a bit of a sickly child. This explains why I read On the Origin of Species whilst at school and

became fascinated with Galapagos. It was my dream to go there and when I went, it did not disappoint. Even my, “only here because it’s your 50th”, husband became enchanted by the blue-footed boobies and other residents. I returned and became a Life Member because if we don’t protect Galapagos, we aren’t worthy inhabitants of this planet.’ To read the rest of this blog, please visit

© Stephanie Foote



ur members are constantly reminding us how much their trip to Galapagos was a life-changing experience, and that the world they encountered was like nothing they had seen before. GCT is also acutely aware that many of our members are concerned about the environmental impact of travelling to Galapagos. As part of our ongoing mission to promote responsible tourism we have partnered with a number of tour operators to help us spread important conservation messages. Whatever your Galapagos experiences have been we would love your help! We are developing an eco-friendly tourist’s guide to Galapagos conservation and are delighted to invite you to feedback on our ideas so far. If you would like to see a copy of the leaflet, please get in touch by emailing


ou may remember from last year that we asked our supporters to help GCT put together a legacy information booklet for our community. We generated a fantastic response and created a wonderful new leaflet to support our work. We would like to take this one step further by offering all our members the opportunity to team up with a local solicitor to write a will at a discounted rate. If you would like to find out more please email



very year we ask our members to help us understand how we can improve. What better way to do this than by filling out a short survey? This year we are happy to announce that every supporter that takes part will be in with the chance of winning a bottle of champagne! To complete the survey please visit Good luck!

To find out more about these and other ways to help GCT, please contact us in the office, email or visit





Win the trip of a lifetime to Galapagos for just £2

D DOMESTIC SCIENCE DARWIN’S BACKYARD: HOW SMALL EXPERIMENTS LED TO A BIG THEORY by James T. Costa, W. W. Norton & Company, 2017, £19.99 ISBN 9780393239898

on’t miss your chance to win a cabin for two on a 5-day cruise of Galapagos and £1,000 each towards flights - enter our raffle today! The cruise, kindly provided by Metropolitan Touring, will be on board the Santa Cruz II yacht.

Payments can be made using the form at the end of this magazine or online at Payments for raffle tickets sent by post must be received by 20 October 2017. The draw will take place on 25 October at Galapagos Day. Please visit our website for more information including Terms and Conditions.


n the wake of the voyage of HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin’s life involved a never-ending stream of clever little experiments. Sometimes he had half a dozen on the go at once, most of them carried out from the family home Down House in Kent. Biologist and trustee of the Charles Darwin Trust James T. Costa reveals this experimental world in a brilliant book that shows what is possible when an enquiring and observant mind, methodical thinking and a good dose of

ingenuity conspire. Darwin’s collection of (largely endemic) Galapagos plants provides the inspirational basis for one of Costa’s chapters on oceanic dispersal, which includes the famous seed-salting experiments that demonstrated that the seeds of many plants could survive a journey at sea to reach isolated places like Galapagos. Each chapter winds up with a detailed postscript on how to replicate several of the experiments.




Galapagos can become a model for marine plastic management in the world. One of the species with the most potential to be impacted by plastics in the Archipelago is the Galapagos sea lion. This endangered mammal suffers from both entanglement by larger plastics, and by eating fish and other marine prey that have ingested microplastics. However nobody knows truly the extent to which this charismatic animal and other vulnerable speices are affected by this man-made pollution. We need your help to investigate the issue further, and to persuade both the local Galapagos residents and the thousands of people visiting the Islands each year to reduce their use of plastics. Please donate today to help us!

Donate today by either using the form on the back page or by contacting the office on 020 7399 7440.



AP P E AL Both images © Galapagos Science Center

arine debris, especially plastics, are a global environmental problem as you will have read on pages 16-19. Large pieces of plastic, such as abandoned nets can cause entanglement, endangering the lives of both marine and terrestrial species. These plastics then break down very slowly forming microplastics that enter food chains at the lowest levels. Hundreds of species are impacted, ranging from sea birds to turtles to land birds that use plastics for their nests. Galapagos is no exception to these conservation impacts. In fact, the problem is magnified on the Islands due to the number of unique endemic species that are affected. However with a powerful partnership of conservation managers, education specialists, and some of the world’s top scientists in the field of marine plastics,

© Vanessa Horwell

Reviewed by Henry Nicholls


For more information about events and to book your tickets, simply visit or call us on 020 7399 7440


Royal geographical society, South Kensington 18:00 -22:00


ickets are still available for this year’s Galapagos Day with Liz Bonnin which will be returning to the Royal Geographical Society in London. From the wonders of whale sharks to the perils of plastics, how do we inspire future conservationists to protect our blue planet? Join us for a unique event to explore the depths of the Galapagos Marine Reserve with our new ambassador Liz Bonnin as she shares her adventures in the Islands as seen on BBC Galapagos and her work inspiring our next generation of scientists. Find out all about how GCT is engaging the stewards of Galapagos with sustainable living, partnering with the local community (as seen on pp 18-

19) and working with visitors. An expert panel will discuss whether the Galapagos Marine Reserve could ever be plasticfree and what we would need to achieve this from cutting-edge science to inspiring education and outreach. In addition to the exciting talks, we will have the amazing winners of our 2017 Galapagos photography competition on display, as well as a photography exhibition from Falmouth University. The event will be in honour of one of our founder trustees Nigel Sitwell who sadly passed away earlier this year. We hope you can join us on what promises to be an inspiring and insightful evening. Winner of the 2017 Galapagos photography competition – a storm petrel ‘walking on water’ taken by McKenna Paulley

Liz Bonnin, our new ambassador and presenter of the recent BBC Galapagos, will be hosting Galapagos Day © Liz Bonnin

Tickets are still available to purchase from our website, via telephone or through the payment form

© McKenna Pauley


MERCHANDISE NEW Christmas Cards pre-order

Pl an ne d pr e- or de r sh ip pi ng da te is ea rly O ct ob er.

Cards read: “Seasons Greetings | Felices Fiestas” and come in packs of 10 with envelopes. Price: £5 / pack or 2 packs for £9! Our new festive cards feature a fun design by GCT supporter Lisa Brown of a Galapagos giant tortoise and a vermillion flycatcher (cards measure 128mm square).

2018 Galapagos Calendar

Our 2018 calendar is now ready to preorder! Filled with eye-catching photos of Galapagos’ finest wildlife and landscapes, this year’s calendar features several images from our 2017 Galapagos photography competition, including a stunning storm petrel ‘walking on water’ which took first place. Price: £10.

Robert E. Fuller cards

A great selection of greetings cards featuring some of the beautiful paintings that Robert E. Fuller produced for his Galapagos exhibition in 2014. There are two each of five designs and 10 envelopes in the pack. Cards can either be blank inside or contain a seasonal greeting. Price: £11.99.

Order these and other Galapagos merchandise using the form on the back page or online at




Please fill in your details below: Name: ........................................................................................... Address: ....................................................................................... ....................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................... Post code:..................................................................................... Telephone:.................................................................................... Email:............................................................................................. If you are happy for us to contact you by email (including our monthly e-newsletter containing updates on our project and fundraising work) or telephone, please complete the field(s).

METHOD OF PAYMENT Please tick one: Cheque (payable to Galapagos Conservation Trust) Credit card

Debit card

CAF voucher

CAF card

NB: We do not accept American Express or Maestro.

Name on card: ........................................................................ Card no: .................................................................................. Expiry date:.............................................................................. Issue no / Start date:................................................................ Security code:..........................................................................

Yes I am a UK taxpayer and I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to the Galapagos Conservation Trust. I understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

TORTOISE DESIGN ADDED TO TEEMILL We’re pleased to announce a new Galapagos-themed design has been added to our Teemill shop, the profits of which go towards supporting our work. GCT supporter Lisa Brown designed this Galapagos tortoise image for our new t-shirts which you can buy today by visiting

PAYMENT FORM There are several easy ways to place an order or donate in support of our work. 1. Via our website 2. By telephone on 020 7399 7440 3. By completing the details on this form and returning with your preferred payment method to: Galapagos Conservation Trust, Charles Darwin Suite, 28 Portland Place, London, W1B 1LY

Make a donation to our Plastics appeal

Total Price £

I would like to give: £20 / £40 / £60 / £100 / Other (please circle) to help fund plastics research. Galapagos Day tickets

Price £

Galapagos Day


Raffle tickets: maximum 50 per person



Price £

2018 Calendar


Tortoise Christmas cards

5.00 or 2 for 9.00

Galapagos cards by Robert E. Fuller Christmas/blank (please circle)


Signed paperback edition of The Galapagos by Henry Nicholls



Total Price £


Total Price £

Adoptions Recipients Details


Total Price £

Galapagos Penguin £30 Name on certificate: Email for updates:

Giant Tortoise £30 Name on certificate: Email for updates:

Floreana Mockingbird including pin badge £25 Name on certificate: Email for updates:

All adoption packs contain a fact file, certificate, and cuddly toy or pin badge and will be sent to you. If you would like them to be shipped directly to the recipient, please contact the GCT office. The email address provided will be signed up to our monthly e-newsletter which includes updates on our project and fundraising work. You can opt out of these emails at any time.

Postage & Packaging Charges All orders (membership deal)







Total Price £

TOTAL All donations will in Galapagos. G AgoL Atowards P A G O supporting S M A T T Econservation RS 25



Join us for a unique 8 day cruise of the Galapagos Islands aboard the yacht Majestic.

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Led by GCT Chairman, Dr Mark Collins, you will get a unique insight into the sites that Darwin visited as you follow in the footsteps of the great naturalist. From famous finches to the iconic giant tortoise and from the beautiful waved albatross to marine iguanas, this itinerary is ideal to meet a huge variety of Galapagos wildlife. You will also get the chance to experience first-hand what is happening to conserve the Islands today from our dedicated project partners.

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From beginning to end, this supporter cruise is an exclusive opportunity to experience Galapagos like never before whilst directly supporting essential conservation work.

For more information, please call us on 020 7399 7440 or email us on

Galapagos Matters Autumn/Winter 2017  
Galapagos Matters Autumn/Winter 2017