Galapagos Islands: Conservation in Action

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Mon, 2007/01/08 - 11:12am.

The following people and organizations are actively involved in conservation in the Galapagos Islands:

Mariuxi Farias
Volunteer Program Manager
Quito, Ecuador
Tatiana Santander
Ornithological Foundation of Ecuador

Conservation in Action: Mariuxi Farias

Volunteer Program Manager
Charles Darwin Research Station
International Volunteer Program
Casill Postal 17 01 3891
Quito, Ecuador
Phone: (593) 5 2 526 146/147 Ext. 251
Fax: (593) 5 2 526 146/147 Ext. 102

Conservation in Action: Tatiana Santander

My name is Tatiana Santander and I’m an Ecuadorian biologist. I went to the Catholic University in Quito where I studied biology. Field work and subjects related to this area such as tropical ecology, zoology, and botany, attracted my attention and enthusiasm. For this reason, when I finished regular coursework I became involved in a long-term study of seabird ecology in the Galapagos Islands. I worked as an assistant for seven months and then again for six months when I also conducted my own research in order to get my Licenciatura (B.A.). While working on this project, I learned how to handle and measure birds, design experiments and data collection methods, work under extremely challenging conditions, and get along with people from other cultures. This experience made me decide to continue in the ornithology area.

After graduation I worked in ecotourism with local indigenous communities at the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve as a naturalist guide. This activity developed my teaching skills and ability to organize and manage groups that has further improved my communication skills. Then I got involved in different research and conservation projects. I am currently working for Aves y Conservación (Ornithological Foundation of Ecuador) a national NGO that has its headquarters in Quito and is BirdLife International Partner.

Aves & Conservación carry out conservation projects with birds and their habitats, and promote the active participation of the general public. During my first years in the institution, I designed and executed a study of the endemic and critically endangered Black-breasted puffleg hummingbird. Although the work was difficult (because it is a very rare species), being persistent, I collected some important new information. Currently I am the Project Coordinator in Aves & Conservación, this position together with the extensive contact I have had with outstanding biologists, conservationists and others has given me a wide range of experiences and I have gained a better perspective on the avian status and priorities for their conservation in Ecuador.

I consider climate change is one of the biggest challenges that people all over the world must face in the near future because predicted changes related to global warming seem to come faster than we can imagine. For my region, I think a lack of understanding of the importance of preserving our natural resources, the unsustainable land management practices, poverty, and the predominance of economic interest over forest conservation are other main issues. My daughter is my major inspiration so I would prefer to be optimistic and I think we could work together for a better world. We should all make choices based on their consequence on the environment and if we want to help we must start understanding and managing the concerns of local people, respecting them as well as their cultures. To raise awareness about world’s most threatened habitats through sharing simple enriching experiences (Catt-Trax 2), and providing important information to understand complex ecosystems and get amazed with its people is one example of what we can do.