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  Page updated:29.06.2009

Control and eradication of donkeys (Asnus asinus)

For more information contact:
Víctor Carrión, +593 (0)5 252 6189 Ext. 145, vcarrion@spng.org.ec

Wild donkeys pose a risk for the ecosystems of the Galapagos which is similar to that of goats.

Like goats, these animals were introduced by humans, but reverted to a wild state after escaping to the interior of the Islands. Their eradication is critical to the restoration of nature on the Islands.

Although less numerous than the goats, donkeys equally alter ecosystems.

For twentieth century colonists, donkeys were part of everyday life. They were used for transportation, and they were known to exist in a wild state on several other islands of the Galapagos. The damage they caused to nature was not so obvious, and it was only begun to be assessed at the end of the century.

The Isabela Project, primarily dedicated to the eradication of goats, contributed largely to the efforts to eradicate donkeys.

Currently, donkeys have been eradicated from Santiago Island. For several years, Park Rangers removed them gradually. The last 24 individuals were eliminated with the help of a helicopter in 2004 during the implementation of the Isabela Project. Overall, on this island, 340 donkeys were removed.

Since 2004, the helicopter is used as the first phase of eradication of large populations of introduced donkeys and goats.

Likewise, donkeys were eradicated from northern Isabela Island, specifically from the "Alcedo" Volcano. In this area, about 1,520 individuals were eliminated, of which only 99 were eliminated with the support of the helicopter between 2004 and 2005. The rest were reached by land and eliminated.

About 1,102 donkeys were eliminated from southern Isabela, and it is estimated that there are still about 200 animals.

In early 2007 all the donkeys from Floreana Island were eradicated, a total of 302 animals.

» See the results of eradication

The process of eradicating donkeys on southern Isabela Island is planned to continue in 2009. This work will be implemented with the support of a helicopter hired for that purpose.


This program has counted on the support of:

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) is an international nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing scientific research, technical assistance and information in order to ensure the success of conservation in Galapagos






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