Galapagos Field Report
July 4, 2006
Captain Paul Watson Inaugurates Sea Shepherd Galapagos Office
Sea Shepherd President and Founder Captain Paul Watson arrived in the Galapagos Islands on the 4th of July to meet with Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez, our Director of Operations in the Galapagos, to officially inaugurate our office. The new office is conveniently located adjacent to the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz.
"We have made great progress in solidifying Sea Shepherd's presence here in the Galapagos Islands and have successfully discussed our long-term vision and strategy for the protection of the enchanted isles with several local leaders including the new Director of the Galapagos National Park, Biologist Raquel Molina," said O'Hearn-Gimenez.
Watson and O'Hearn-Gimenez met with the Director and discussed Sea Shepherd's commitment to continue our efforts towards the protection of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Among the initiatives discussed include our continued efforts to work with the control and surveillance against poaching as well as our commitment towards environmental education projects geared towards the children of the Galapagos Islands. Captain Watson was presented with an official signed copy of the National Park's Management Plan by Director Raquel Molina.
Sea Shepherd in the Galapagos is diversifying its operations in order to work with the local schools to raise an environmental awareness for the Galapagos.
Gimenez explained, "As part of our long term strategy in the Galapagos, we plan to work with the local community on different initiatives to ensure that the Galapagos youth have the opportunity to learn from their islands. Many children who live here do not have the resources to really explore and gain an appreciation for the fragility of the Galapagos Islands. As future caretakers of the islands and our planet, the youth are an important part of any conservation effort here in the Galapagos."
In addition, Sea Shepherd will also become part of the Inter-institutional Committee of the Management of Introduced Species (CIMEI). For the last 2 years, the Sea Shepherd flagship, Farley Mowat, has worked with CIMEI and Animal Balance in order to bring supplies to the Galapagos Islands and have provided volunteers to assist in spay & neuter programs on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Veteran crewmember Allison Lance Watson leaded this initiative for Sea Shepherd here in the Galapagos.
"The problem the Islands are experiencing with cats and dogs represents a real ecological threat in the islands. These four-legged animals kill native species of birds and iguanas, and this negatively impacts the natural ecosystem," said Lance Watson. "Ironically, whalers have a role in this: The cats and dogs arrived on the early whaling ships; the cats were brought to keep mice and rat populations under control and the dogs to hunt. Because there are no animal medical facilities on the islands, the animals continued to breed and their populations escalated out of control. We are proud to be part of this effort to put a stop to this devastating problem."