Based in the United Kingdom, the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the protection and conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Established in 1995, the GCT has supported a wide variety of conservation and awareness programs.
The GCT is the only charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the Galapagos Islands. Visit the Galapagos Conservation Trust site to view more information.
The GCT works by identifying problem areas in Galapagos with feasible solutions and then raising the funds to see the solutions through. One example is the installation of solar panels at the Charles Darwin Research Station. With the panels, the station can generate much of its own power and be an example to other businesses and organizations on the islands. It's a good, feasible project and one that comes with a specific price tag.
The GCT is currently managing several such programs. One problem they have identified is the lack of Ecuadorians with higher education in management positions at the park and research areas, so they're supporting scholarships for talented Ecuadorians to work on their doctorates in Europe and the USA. They are also collecting donations for programs designed to protect birds from introduced species.
An ongoing GCT program is concerned with protecting sharks from illegal shark fin fishing and long-line fishing, both of which kill countless sharks every year. As the top marine predator, the shark is a key element in the Galapagos food chain and an irreplaceable part of their ecosystem. An important part of this program is catching illegal fishermen, and in this the GCT has the full cooperation of the Galapagos National Park Service.
The Galapagos Conservation Trust is supported by many reputable members of the international and Ecuadorian travel community. Galapagosislands.com is proud to be a corporate level sponsor of the GCT.
Interested in helping the GCT in their conservation and protection efforts? There are any number of ways to become involved in the GCT community and support their invaluable efforts. It is possible to donate funds directly, purchase a GCT membership, enter photos (with a small fee) in their photo competition or “adopt” Galapagos Penguins, Tortoises or other animals. See their web site for details!
The Charles Darwin Foundation was established in 1959 under Belgium law, the same year that the Galapagos National Park was created and the 100th anniversary of the publication The foundation has served as a leader in conservation for the Galapagos as well as conducting much needed educational and research work.
The Charles Darwin Research Station was created on in 1964, and has contributed to the culture of the Galapagos through its programs and opportunities for scientists to study the islands. Thousands of visitors make the trek to the station each month to learn more about the fragile eco-system that is home to a shocking number of plant and animal species.
CDF exists through funds donated by private sponsors; currently the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Galapagos Conservatory and the contribute significant funds each year to help the foundation pay for its research and conservation efforts.
CDF’s work has helped to and land iguanas through breeding programs. One recent effort to continue this work has focused on a captive breeding program for mangrove finches, which successfully produced offspring in 2014. Other projects have been instrumental in stopping the growth of non-native plant species like the blackberry bush while working as an advisor to National and state governments.
On the educational front, the Charles Darwin Foundation promotes its programs in local schools and has provided school scholarships for Ecuadorian students in an effort to involve more citizens who have higher education. In a partnership with Coast to Coast Education, CDF also contributes to a 12 day program in the islands for students to learn about the Galapagos and its creatures first hand, spending time exploring the archipelago and at the research station.
Other much needed work that the foundation is involved in protects sharks from being illegally fished, and concentrates on catching those who “farm” sharks for their fins. On the research side, the CDF reviews scientific proposals from experts worldwide who want to investigate life in the Galapagos.
Today, the Charles Darwin Foundation is facing a crossroads and needs further funding to continue its crucial work in the Galapagos Islands. Visiting the provides information about its work, offers people the opportunity to make a donation, sign up for a membership that gives exclusive access to the foundation and its research, or to adopt a species that is currently being targeted.