Make Your Year-end Gift to Wildlife in Galapagos

This year has been a busy and productive one for GPS.  In the spring, I led a successful two-week campaign in Galapagos where I advanced our mission of protecting wildlife and preserving island ecosystems while promoting animal welfare.

I traveled to Santa Cruz Island where a small team of volunteers and I constructed a fence for two sweet, large-breed dogs, Pepa and Jan.  After we finished the fence, we released Pepa and Jan from their tethers.  It was touching to see the dogs slowly explore the entire yard and realize they could run from one end to the other.  The remainder of our materials went to reinforcing fences for a few other dogs in Santa Cruz, so they too could be freed from chains but confined to a yard where they are protected from cars and wildlife is protected from them.

I also conducted several meetings, both on the islands and the mainland of Ecuador. I am pleased to report that GPS has developed a relationship with the Galapagos Minister of Culture, Maria Eugenia Proano.  Maria Eugenia Proano is one of the founding members of CIMEI (Inter-institutional Committee for Management and Control Introduced Species).  She cares a great deal about the future of the islands and is working with us to produce humane education and conservation outreach materials for children and adults on Santa Cruz Island.

I established a relationship with Metropolitan Touring, the largest tour-operator in Galapagos to educate their employees on the impacts dogs and cats have on the indigenous wildlife and struck a deal with American Airlines for discount pricing to fly GPS animals from Ecuador back to the United States.

Finally, while on Santa Cruz, friend and supporter of GPS, Sarah Darling found a dog tied to some weeds at the edge of town.  It was obvious the dog was suffering from malnutrition, a severe case of mange and a large bloody wound on her back. Sarah and I untied her and brought her to a clinic to be treated.  The little dog flew with me to the mainland where GPS board member Dr. Diego Barrera cared for her until she was healthy enough to fly to the United States.  Founder of GPS, Allison Lance picked her up and Ruby stayed with Allison until she was adopted.  Ruby now lives happily in Vancouver, Canada.

GPS also had our first long-term volunteer on the islands this past summer. Karstan Lovorn, a lawyer, carpenter and long-time activist arrived in July for his three-month position on Santa Cruz Island.  Karstan worked with Maria Eugenia on humane education materials and scripts for public service announcements to be aired on the local television station about the importance of spay and neuter. He also assisted our sister organization Darwin Animal Doctors with clinic duties, including helping them move to a new clinic space and hand building five-sets of bunk beds for volunteers to sleep on.  Finally, Karstan managed a high-volume spay and neuter campaign that served both Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands.

We were only able to do this work through your generosity and support.

Although we are making progress in the Galapagos, we still have numerous concerns.  Native wildlife continues to be under assault by invasive animals.  It remains legal for people to breed and sell dogs and cats on the islands. While I was there, I saw many signs advertising purebred puppies for sale. Sterilization of dogs and cats is not mandatory or even encouraged. With your help we can outlaw commercial dog breeding and mandate sterilization of pets.

GPS is starting the year out strong. We are heading back to the Galapagos in January with a small team of veterinarians to conduct a sterilization campaign on Santa Cruz Island.  I will also build fences for chained and free-roaming dogs and conduct humane outreach in the local community.

We are actively searching for long-term veterinarian volunteers who will focus solely on much-needed dog and cat sterilization.  We are also reaching out to veterinary clinics around the country to secure volunteers for short high-volume spay/neuter campaigns and medical supply donations. Finally, we are developing relationships with volunteers in Galapagos to find a way to stop smuggling and breeding of purebred dogs.

To achieve our goals in 2012, we need your continued support. Help us start the year financially secure by giving GPS a generous tax-deductible, year-end gift. 

The Galapagos Islands, one of the most diverse and intact ecosystems in the world remains in peril. We depend on your support to continue to do our on-the-ground work in the islands.  Without your help we simply won’t have the resources we need to sterilize the thousands of cats and dogs on the island and prevent them from overtaking the native ecosystem, build fences for chained and free-roaming dogs and educate the public on the importance and fragility of the Galapagos Islands, the place that they call home.

Thank you for your support of GPS’s vital work in the Galapagos last year and your continued support in 2012. To make a tax-deductible year-end gift to GPS, you can do so securely here.

– Galapagos Preservation Society

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