Newly fledged mangrove finch chick in the Galapagos Islands.

The first mangrove finch to be released back into the wild. © Charles Darwin Foundation.

Last week, we featured a story about the financial crisis that the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) is facing and urged our readers to support a fundraising campaign that is being spearheaded by the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA). Basically, IGTOA and an anonymous donor will double match every donation received via this web page before January 1st, up to $25,000.

If you’re still not sold on making a donation, check out this video highlighting the CDF’s efforts to save the mangrove finch from extinction. The finch, one of the iconic species that inspired Darwin’s theory of natural selection, is one of the world’s most critically endangered birds and is only found within a tiny (30 hectare) range on the island of Isabela. The larvae of an invasive species of parasitic fly devours the nestlings and has pushed the mangrove finch to the very brink of extinction. But the CDF is pushing back. Thanks to a pioneering hand-rearing program, there are now 75 individuals in the wild (up from just 60 when the program started), and the future of the mangrove finch is starting to look slightly less bleak. The CDF is also trying to figure out how to eradicate the parasitic fly all together. Pretty inspiring stuff.