Animal Balance in the Galapagos
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2004:
SAN FRANCISCO–Violent confrontations between fishers
hellbent on exploiting the marine life of Galapagos National Park and
Marine Reserve reignited repeatedly in the first half of 2004–except
when Animal Balance was there.
For six weeks, from mid-April to late May, Animal Balance
sterilized, vaccinated, and gave parasite treatment to dogs and
cats, both pets and ferals, on Isabela Island, the largest and
most populated of the Galapagos chain.
The work seemed to bring the warring factions together. The
trouble stopped just as Animal Balance arrived, and again erupted
almost as soon as the Animal Balance volunteers went home.
Former San Francisco SPCA feral cat program coordinator Emma
Clifford conceived and directed the Animal Balance project, with
veterinary help led by Operation Catnip founder Julie Levy of the
University of Florida at Gainesville.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society provided transportation
to the remote islands. Patrolling the Galapagos Marine Reserve since
2001 at invitation of the Galapagos National Park Service, the Sea
Shepherds have often been between the embattled Galapagos National
Park Service conservation staff and the irate fishers–and at odds
with the Ecuadoran Navy, whose senior officers tend to see their
mission as defending the fishing industry, not marine life.