The flora and fauna of the Islands are extremely vulnerable to invasive alien species, since they rarely have defense mechanisms. In Mexico, a high percentage of island species extinctions were caused by invasive species, thus it is essential to protect our biodiversity and island ecosystems from this threat. This project is a tool that can contribute to the early detection of invasive species by submitting observations of any undesirable species in a Mexican Island, to trigger a rapid response and stop its spread.
Islands hold a high proportion of endemic species (that are not found anywhere else in the world), which lack defense mechanisms against introduced or alien species, since the process of coevolution did not occur among them. Usually, the introduced species are transported by humans. When they have adverse impacts on native species, they are considered invasive species. Those that most affect the islands include cats, rats, rabbits, dogs, pigs and goats, which man has taken as pets or as food sources. In Mexico, these introduced mammals have caused the extinction of 17 species and subspecies of endemic vertebrates from the islands: 88% of all vertebrate extinctions in the country! Additionally, a large number of native species of the islands are in a risk category of extinction for the same cause. It is noteworthy that, in addition to the environmental consequences of invasive species, they pose a threat to human health and economy, as some are carriers and transmitters of diseases and parasites.
In the last two decades, Mexico has successfully managed 58 eradications of 11 mammal species in 37 islands. These actions have benefited 23 species of mammals, 35 of reptiles, 45 of birds and 75 of plants, all endemics; as well as 233 breeding bird populations. However, work must continue: it is necessary to prevent the introduction of new pests and reintroductions where they have already been eliminated. Prevention is, in fact, the most affordable protection. It is also required to have programs that detect any unwanted species on an island. This project comes as part of this early detection process, allowing the residents and visitors to record observations of any introduced species. When reporting an exotic animal or its traces, rapid response processes can be triggered to verify an incursion, and the best method to stop its spread is selected.