Prior to 2004 there was no an animal management program for cats and dogs on the Galapagos Islands. The authorities were randomly poisoning dogs and cats with Compound 1080 placed in meat and put on street corners by the trash collectors. This indiscriminate approach has the potential to harm all species who could ingest this substance and die, including children, who would often play in the sandy streets. The Galapagos National Park Service and ABG are mandated to protect the biodiversity of these islands, while the Mayor of each Municipality is focused on increasing wealth, which often means they are at odds. Tensions were high between the community and authorities in 2003 and witnessing their community dogs dying slowly and painfully in the streets only compounded the situation. Despite the poisonings, the cat and dog populations were flourishing and could potentially prey on the delicate native species that do not know to flee, or protect themselves, when a predator approaches.
The native species needed protection and help, but the local people did not have the tools to allow them to take responsibility for their pets, in an effective way and the authorities were not aware of any other options. A comprehensive humane animal management was needed to address the situation. We provided the strategy, funds, equipment, medicines and skilled medical personnel in 2004, collaborated with CIMEI (the former ABG) and the Galapagos National Park Service (PNG) and methodically targeted community after community until 80% of the cat and dog populations had been sterilized. Click here to read our latest report on the Galapagos Islands.