Galapagos Islands is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world with a large number of endemic species that are in danger of extinction. To address this concern, Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, and environmental activist has announced a contribution of $43m to save species across the Galapagos Islands. The intention, in partnership with Rewild an organization formed by a group of conservation scientists and himself, Island Conservation Project, the Galapagos National Park Directorate, and local communities, aims to conserve the entire Galapagos Islands. Leonardo DiCaprio came up with some great inspiring words: “ Because we don’t need to reinvent the planet, we just need to rewild it.”
Besides the mentioned organisations, the project has a large number of supporters that also includes Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment and Water, Charles Darwin Foundation and Paula A. Castaño, a veterinarian and biologist with Island Conservation who lives and works in the Galapagos Islands. She has been taking control over DiCaprio’s social media accounts to lead the project and promote critical interventions needed to rewild the Galapagos.
“When I travelled to the Galápagos Islands, I met with Paula Castaño and other environmental heroes in Ecuador working day in and day out to save one of the most irreplaceable places on the planet. I’m excited to share her team’s work and to support the longstanding effort to protect and restore these iconic islands, alongside the team at Re:wild,” commented Leonardo DiCaprio.
The $43m raised will fund Galapagos conservation projects that aim to restore Floreana Island, home to 140 people, 54 threatened species, and reintroduce 13 locally extinct species including Floreana mockingbird and pink iguana. This pledge will also pay to enhance measures to protect the Galapagos marine life from the tourism and human impact.
Paula A. Castaño hardly believes that if all people reconnect with nature, respect the wildlife and cooperate together towards rewilding the ecosystem, we can achieve great success. Furthermore, she highlights that they are not intending to remove humans from the islands but they invite humanity to support the restoration of the ecosystem and the local communities. The main objective is to maintain the balance between humans and nature and thrive together.
One of the best achievements is that Galapagos habitants are highly respected, for example, in Floreana Islands people can see a Darwin finch or sea lions lying right next to them. The animals do not have a fear of humans like in other places because they know there is no harm intended thanks to certain restrictions on the islands.
“We have seen rewilding in our lifetime, so we don’t really have to wait five years or 20 or 50 years. These are immediate results. We will see the payoff for all of these efforts, and not across only the Galápagos, but farther beyond archipelagos in Latin America,” states Paula Castaño.
The minister of environment and water of Ecuador Marcelo Mata Guerrero, expressed his profound support for this project: “With Ecuador, as one of the 17 most biodiverse countries on the planet, we have an opportunity here to demonstrate what a truly effective model looks like for the protection and restoration of our shared wildlife and wildlands – the immune system of our planet, protecting all life on Earth, including people, from the effects of climate change and emerging disease.”
These positive projects give hope for a brighter future, harmony between humanity and nature as well as inspire us to be better, to do better. We are glad tourism can be more than a vacation, more educating, more contributing. Visit us at the Galapagos Islands and share your support to conserve our planet!
Written by Nargiza Erkinova