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45 Species of Galapagos Islands Extinct or Facing Extinction due to Overfishing and Climate Change

A new report published in the journal Global Change Biology shows that 45 species of the Galapagos Islands have become extinct or are facing extinction largely due to human activities.

The main causes are the 1982 El Nino and overfishing. The results show the great vulnerability of this diverse area to significant climate change and human activities.


The El Nino event of 1982 destroyed many coral reefs in the Galapagos, some of which had been living for 400 years. Following that event, overfishing in the area (of large predatory fish and lobsters) caused the sea urchin population to explode and overgraze the coral. This further harmed and killed the coral reefs that survived El Nino.

The 45 species that have now disappeared or are facing extinction include 5 mammals, 6 birds, 5 reptiles, 6 fish, 1 echinoderm, 7 corals, 6 brown algae and 9 red algae.

Included in these species is the Mangrove finch that was once studied by Charles Darwin. According to Matt Walker of BBC, there are fewer than 200 of these birds remaining, “all of which are dependant on mangroves that are susceptible to further climate change.”

Additional species are the Galapagos sea lion (above), the marine iguana (above), the Galapagos penguin (below) and pink cup coral.

I think as we move forward, recognizing the disappearance and life of these species (species going extinct due to human activities) is important to stop unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions resulting in catastrophic climate change and other unsustainable human activities that are wiping out the life and diversity of the natural world.

The Galapagos is one vulnerable area that is clearly seeing the effects of these harmful human activities.

via BBC Earth News

Related Stories:
1) Tourist Mosquitoes Threaten the Galapagos
2) Near Extinct Galapagos Tortoise Successfully Mates at 90
3) Sea Level Rise of Up to 1.9 Meters (6′3″) This Century?
4) Ancestors of Mammals May Have Survived Largest Mass-Extinction in History in Antarctica
5) 11 Extinct Animals That Have Been Photographed Alive
6) 10 Animals on the Brink of Extinction

Image Credit 1: Peri Apex via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: Tomer Arazy via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 3: Len Blumin via flickr under a Creative Commons license