The approach of a tropical storm, forecast to come right over Round Island, prompted Mauritius to issue a level 2 alert and us to batten down the field station and to be hurriedly helicoptered off the island. www.facebook.com/jerry.aylmer/videos/10158240604088714/
I arrived on a choppy sea - making for a slightly tricky offload to the 'landing rock' - at Round Island on Wednesday 9th Oct - a steep uninhabited island formed by the remaining half of an old volcanic crater, about 1km by 2km in size (and curiously not at all round) and 20km offshore Mauritius. The small field station, housing between 3 to 7 staff and researchers within it and some surrounding tents, will be my new home for the majority of the next 6 months. It's quite some place - geographically, plant-wise (we have our own nursery for propagating native species, while on the west coast there is the one and only remaining wild mature endemic hurricane palm) and with the array of semi-tame wildlife: charismatic Telfair skinks everywhere (dish cleaning/prowling for crumbs/jumping on your foot/generally skinking about the station in a rather comically villainous manner), friendly lumbering giant green tortoises some of which swing by for a good neck scratch (there are 100's resident on the whole island), big eyed ornate geckos, Durrell night geckos, lovely relaxed nocturnal Round Island boas to survey and tag, gloriously red and white tailed tropic birds, swooping nesting petrels and the simply incredible sounding shearwaters, which spend the night inhabiting their burrows and filling the entire island with their other-worldly howling impressions of packs of dogs, wolves, squeaky toys or a windy kind of whale song in a most unbird-like fashion.
Days are disappearing fast and have so far involved plant care and watering (in the nursery and all over the island slopes where saplings have been planted out), invasive weed searches, nocturnal reptile surveys, petrel tagging, helping create camera trap stands and various other assorted tasks, with some time for a little rock-pool swimming and occasional bucket shower on a precious few litres of fresh water a week!
This week we harvested pollen from the last wild Hurricane Palm Dictyosperma album var. conjugatum on Round Island.
Warden Jo: "Two weeks ago Dr Phil Lambdon, the new Island Restoration Flora Officer, spotted male inflorescences on the tree. Male and female flowers of this species do not bloom at the same time to prevent self pollination. To preserve the genetic diversity of this rare variety Phil recommanded harvesting the pollen. We will preserve it and try to manually pollinate the female flowers when they will show up. Some pollen will be sent on the mainland to pollinate the trees found at Gerald Durrel Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary (GDEWS). These trees were planted from seeds collected on Round Island.
Several indidivuals have been planted on Round over the years but none has reach maturity yet. About 120 seedlings coming from seeds collected at GDEWS are currently slowly growing in our nursery and most of them will be ready to plant in 2020."
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation/Durrell, week 2 and spending it in this beautiful small island nature reserve just a few hundred metres off the mainland: Learning about endangered endemic plant species in the nursery here, in preparation for my first trip out to Round Island where many are being restored. Also getting familiarised with giant tortoise husbandry, skink rearing and the incredible native bird species of which a number are being brought back from the edge of extinction. Olive white eyes are here, currently the most endangered bird in Mauritius with about 250, and plenty of lovely and cheeky re-established Mauritian fodies. Over on the mainland are Mauritian kestrel programs, the most incredible rescue act of all - about 500 now, up from just 4 of which only 1 was a breeding female, 40 years ago!
Look at how our teams at the Perhentian Islands celebrated the end of Ramadan on 5th June! This is always an important moment in which we share time with local villagers, eat delicious food and celebrate like a big family! Living in the village is a fantastic way for volunteers to experience local traditions, cuisine, and culture.
We have updated our plastic free map from last year - great to see so many new businesses on board this season to make the Perhentian Islands plastic free. Visiting the islands this season? Be sure to refer to our map to see where you can refill your water bottle, recycle your trash properly, boycott plastic straws or buy your own reusable straws and eco goods!
For our Recycling and Waste Management team it is important to engage stakeholders in waste and recycle management. And to collaborate with the local community in the Perhentian Islands. In the picture you can see the
#PlasticFreePerhentian map 2019. The project started in 2018 with the aim to reduce impacts of plastics and littering in the islands. Also to create water refill stations.
#marineconservation #oceanconservation #globalwarming #climatechange #conservation#directaction #plasticfree #ecofriendly #ocean #saveourseas #nosharkcull #coralreefs#diving #freediving #scubadiving #perhentianisland #plasticfreeperhentian
The 8th of June was celebrated all around the world as World Oceans Day! OurPerhentian Marine Research Station , Turtle Project and the Eco-Education Project teamed up to clean the Perhentian Kecil's village beach. A team was cleaning the beach from land and another doing it while snorkelling! The dive team did some bottle reef maintenance on the artificial reef, built recently, and after that a dive clean up. Look at the numbers and what they've done all together!ere to edit.
A new initiative and collaboration between the waste management conservation team from the Perhentian Marine Research Station at Fuze Ecoteer and the wonderful eco-conscious Panorama Diver Perhentian - removing trash such as old fishing nets, plastic bottles and fishing lines from the beautiful coral reefs of the Perhentian islands 😊
Over 14kg cleaned up from 2 dives!
Coral reefs face too many threats as it is from global warming and acidification of the oceans, making them extra fragile and vulnerable, so let's not finish them off with careless waste disposal, littering, disposable plastics use or damage from touching or kicking please!
#conservationoptimismk here to edit.