The conservation and restoration of Mexican islands: a programmatic approach and the systematic eradication of invasive mammals.
Invasive mammals are the most important threat to the biodiversity on Mexican islands. 17 insular endemic birds and mammals have become extinct due to the impact of introduced mammals, such as feral cats, rats, feral goats and sheep. The nearly two thousand islands and islets with a surface area of 5,127 km, have a very high value natural capital, hosting 620,000 inhabitants. Thanks also to its distant oceanic islands off the Pacific; Mexico has the 13th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with rich seas and seabeds. Most of the larger islands, around 600 are located in the northwest region - Pacific Ocean off Baja California, the Gulf of California, and the Revillagigedo Archipelago - which together with the islands in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico significantly add to Mexico's mega diversity. In response to the threat of invasive mammals, Mexico has made important advances in regard to global eradication on islands. During the past 15 years, 49 populations of invasive mammals have been eradicated from 30 islands. These eradications have protected 147 endemic taxa of mammals, reptiles, birds and plants. Additionally, 227 colonies of seabirds have been protected. These conservation and restoration actions have followed a programmatic approach with the collaboration of local communities, federal government agencies, the congress and the senate, academic institutions, civil society (NGOs), as well as national and international donors and funds, both public and private. By keeping this pace, the eradication of invasive mammals from the remaining islands - 40 approximately - is a realistic and strategic goal achievable by 2025. This will be a significant accomplishment in terms of global biodiversity conservation.