Sea lions try as hard as they can to get your attention and jump up to kiss you
From September to December 2008, the vegan conservation group Sea Shepherd waged a fight to protect the ecosystem and all the animals of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. This blog recounts what happened in that time, serving for the group.
The post below recounts what Wolf Island was like, the island that we were on a mission to defend.
On Wolf Itself
Wolf is surrounded on all sides by high cliffs, and there’s no dock, since no humans are allowed on the island. To get onto Wolf, you take a speedboat to the cliff edge, when the waves permit. Then you run off the front of the speedboat and cling to the cliff rocks as the boat speeds away. Then you hope there’s enough footing to get up the cliff because no one else probably climbed that rock face before you. At the top, you’ll be ripped to shreds by cactus, but it’s worth braving all of that because you’ll see things you’ll never see anywhere else in the world.
You have to climb up cliff walls to a plateau of cactus plants, as most of the Galapagos are rocky, harsh environments.
Wolf Island is surrounded on all sides by high cliffs.
There are huge, unique birds every few feet of the island. This huge fluffy one is an infant.
The giant creatures of Wolf Island have no fear of people, and challenge them if humans come near.
The Vampire Finch is only seen on Wolf Island, and it’s pretty amazing to see this little round bird start drinking blood. It’s very difficult to walk around the island without walking right into giant birds who are staring at you, and we got to see forests literally painted white by the birds.
The vampire finch sneaks up on a red-footed booby. It’s actually a change in their behavior (they have traditionally only went for masked or blue-footed boobies).
The vampire finch is much like a mosquito, poking a small hole and drinking blood while the host doesn’t notice.
We couldn’t spend too much time on Wolf, because the Sierra Negra had to leave. Since then, the Tiburon Martillo and Sea Mar 2 have been reporting that they’ve been seeing illegal ships continuing to enter the area, and they’ve been chasing those illegal ships away. They may not be able to catch every illegal ship that tries to violate Wolf, but it’s like pursuing the Japanese whalers in Antarctica: as long as you have them on the run, they’re not killing animals illegally.
Next weeks’ post will cover more that SSCS is doing to stop the poaching in Galapagos, and wrap up the campaign.