Galapagos Islands Good News

Expedition Tours

31 October 2020

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Climate change and a Pandemic… not always bad news


Galapagos sees record rise in two unique endemic species


The Galapagos National Park experts consider that the presence of La Niña natural climatic phenomenon, which occurs on average every two to seven years, plus the COVID outbreak, has contributed to the increase in the numbers of penguins and flightless cormorants. During 2020, La Niña which produces an unusual cooling effect in the waters of the Pacific resulting in an outcrop of food for the seabirds and the absence of tourists near the areas where these species nest due to the stop of all touristic activities during the COVID outbreak, had an unexpected positive effect.


According to the official bulletin issued by the Galapagos National Park a few days ago, during the last census of penguins and flightless cormorants the population of these two endemic species has dramatically increased and at this moment there are approximately 2290 flightless cormorants and 1940 penguins living in the islands.


The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) which is the second smallest of the species of penguins in the world living on the Earth´s equator, measuring up to 45 centimeters is able to survive at the equator because of the presence of the Humboldt Current which travels from Antarctica bringing the food supply that it is required by all the species feeding from the sea. Like its relatives in other parts of the world, the Galapagos penguin is monogamous, staying together for their entire lives…



The Galapagos cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi) is the only type out of approximately 40 cormorant species to have lost its ability to fly but instead have developed strong swimming and diving skills. Darwin proposed two possible theories why this type of Cormorant lost its capability to fly: “positive selection” – the birds survived as they enhanced their ability to do something else (diving) or they simply lost their ability to fly simply because they didn’t need to migrate.



In the Galapagos Islands every day brings exciting news, every species is unique and fascinates all travelers who visit this remote archipelago. This is certainly one of the places in the world that we must visit …

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