(ORDO NEWS) — On the Galapagos Islands, they reintroduced two species that had previously completely disappeared from their territory.
Local populations of these species have been completely decimated by invasive black and Norwegian rats.
It is believed that rodents came to the islands at the beginning of the 16th century, having reached there on the ships of pirates and smugglers. For years they hunted and destroyed ecosystems.
Cactus finches have been considered extinct on Pinzon Island for over forty years. And the geckos that once inhabited the island of Rabida were known to scientists only from fossils 5,000 years old.
As part of a species restoration program, experts cleared the islands of rodents. This process took a long time, because it was important not to harm the local inhabitants.
After that, finches and geckos were returned to their historical habitats. Observations have shown that their populations are “thriving”.
Scientists also spotted the Galapagos Corncrake on Pinzon, an endemic bird that had never been seen on the island before.
The scientists noted that the removal of the invading rodents resulted in “significant positive changes” in natural ecosystems.
Native plant and animal species have been given a safe habitat and can begin to recover. Previously, many of them were badly affected and are either considered locally extinct or retain only a small population.
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