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by on January 10, 2020

Australia Bushfire Disaster and Galapagos Conservation

The Australia bushfire disaster is rampaging the country. How can you help, and what can be done to prevent this in the future, and is Galapagos in danger?

In 2017, Australia experienced the longest drought recorded in its history. This sparked the unfortunate news of the Australia bushfire disaster we see today, with scientists stating that up to a billion animals have died in the bush wildfires, along with over 25 humans. The total range of the fire in Australia is double the size of the fires that burned through the Amazon rainforest at their peak in August 2019.

Two crucial questions of the Australia Bushfire Disaster

1. What can you do to help?
2. What can be done to prevent these disasters so the same mistakes don’t repeat?

What can you do to help in the Australia Bushfire disaster?

The biggest impact we outsiders can make is to donate funds to the brave struggles of organizations that are making every effort possible to prevent wildfires, protect animals, and assist communities. Here a few sources below, with specific missions related to wildlife, communities, and firefighters. Any amount helps!

  1. Help Thirsty Koalas Devastated by Recent Fires 
  2. Support the communities of the bushfire disaster 
  3. Help Firefighters and Communities

Preventative Measures – Australian Bushfire disaster

The second most important topic is one that asks us to look inward and ask the hard questions. How can we prevent these extreme disasters from happening in the first place, even if we don’t live in Australia?

The first step is to get well acquainted with the science of climate change, and well as it’s deadly twin”ocean acidification” that is plaguing the world’s coral reefs. By understanding the main concepts of climate change and preventative measures, we can begin electing leaders that care about the matters and take them seriously.

This is evident, with some pointing fingers at the leadership in Australia. An editor of Australia’s “The Correspondent,” Imogen Champagne, stated “In Australia, the Prime Minister is suffering mounting criticism of his approach toward the bushfire disaster, with many claiming a lack of action and leadership in supporting impacted areas. He was also widely criticized for his decision to take a family holiday to Hawaii in December as the crisis raged on and for allegedly ignoring requests to meet with fire experts earlier last year.”

Besides electing leaders who are familiar with climate topics, we individuals can also make the effort to switch to earth-friendly lifestyle habits. The concepts of reducing, reuse, and recycle are still as relevant as ever. Solar panels are widely available in many areas. Using our resources efficiently can make huge differences.

With these disasters, the question arises, are other dry climates like the Galapagos islands in danger of similar occurrences?

While the Galapagos doesn’t make headlines for wildfires, El Niño events certainly do. Every 2-7 years, temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean increase at the Equator and eastern Pacific. Kris Karnauskas of the University of Colorado Boulder states that 10 billion gallons of cold water are moving every second throughout this region. Suddenly, warm tropical waters displace the cold Humboldt currents, resulting in increased rains. This leads to an extreme reduction in the food supply in the near-surface waters causing the population levels of many native animals such as marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, and fur seals to reach near-extinction levels.

Studies show that with changing climate, the odds of notably strong El Niño events elevate. Super El Niños, ones that occurred in 1982, 1998, and 2015-2016, can spring global temperatures to record levels, annihilating coral reefs worldwide and flooding parts of Africa and Asia while starving other parts of the globe of moisture.

What are scientists doing to help Galapagos?

The Charles Darwin foundation is within the islands run advanced breeding programs, even bringing back species that are on the brink of extinction. These programs are crucial to the survival of at-risk species.

The Galapagos conservancy is committed to research-based projects supporting wildlife species, eradicating invasive species, and protecting marine life. Below is a list of supported projects.

  1. Landbird Conservation and Control of Philornis downsi
  2. Ecosystem Restoration through Invasive Plants and Insects Research and Management
  3. Blue-footed Booby Population Analysis
  4. Galapagos Penguin Conservation
  5. Marine Ecosystem Research and Management
  6. Quarantine and Control of Introduced Species
  7. Floreana Project
  8. Project Pinzón
  9. Project Isabela

How you support Galapagos? 

First and foremost, you can donate to the organizations above. This helps purchase equipment, pay staff, host volunteers, and much more. Secondly, you can visit the islands, where funds from your purchase will go into the protection of the islands.

How can you visit Galapagos?  

Getting to the islands is a pretty straightforward process. There are a variety of travel options, from cruises to land-based, where you can fully enjoy the biodiversity. Check out our guide to getting to the Galapagos for the best prices, and start supporting the efforts today! 


About Keenan Ennis

Keenan Ennis studied Conservation and wildlife biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This eventually lead him to a program in Ecuador studying hummingbirds and their keystone nutritional species in the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve. Since, he has worked with the critically endangered Bandurria Andina, or black-faced Ibis of the Andean Páramo. Through his ecological background, he provides an in depth insight into the conservation processes of the Galapagos Islands.

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