Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Fatso's last weigh in
On Monday we released two of our black mud terrapins, Fatso and Sharky, back into the wetland.
Fatso heading off
 After giving both of them a quick check over and a final weighing they were taken back down to their capture site and released.
Sharky disappears into the grass

We have now completed all our trapping for the terrapins. The next step is to begin looking at the captures of terrapins and make an estimate of how many animals are living within the Intendance wetland.

Other happenings..
Last weekend we (Rachel and I) had the opportunity to visit Bird Island, while there we got some practice at assisting birds when we stumbled across a lesser noddy that was unable to fly. Lucky for us it was simply a case of removing some twigs that had become caught in the feathers, and it took off happily into the night.   

The children trying to identify birds during a walk through the wetland

Today we were visited by a class from the International School of Seychelles. They were shown around the farm and wetland area then visited the Wildlife Centre for a brief presentation as part of their current geography course. In the wetland small teams were involved in a competition to spot as many animals as possible. At the end of their visit the class was presented with one of our animal and bird identification slates and also a turtle identification poster for their class room.
Presentation with International School of Seychelles in the Wildlife Centre

A new volunteer joined us today, Irma, she will be learning about our work (and other projects run  by MCSS) and how to do it before starting an Environmental Science course at Uni Sey in September. We hope to be seeing a lot more of her over the next few months.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Since 1970 Every year the 22nd April is celebrated as Earth Day – Events are held in more than 192 countries. The mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns 

To celebrate this event we will be releasing two of our terrapins that are doing very well. Fatso and Sharky have both put on weight and are no longer moulting so we feel they are ready to go back into the wetland.

This week Vanessa has also started to join us a few days a week to help with the terrapins and turtle monitoring. On Tuesday she helped with setting and retrieving the traps and managed to get her first terrapin. She has also started to train us in the use of the drones.
Vanessa with her first terrapin- a juvenile Black Mud.

Last week we added 3 new sites to our terrapin trapping and have had some great catches. Our first juvenile animal (less than 10cm) and another small adult. We have already recaptured the juvenile and caught another adult – fantastic for our population estimates.

The Banyan tree float under construction
There is a lot of action around the hotel at the moment as they will be participating in the Carnival in Victoria this coming weekend. The float is being prepared and the staff are out practicing their dancing routines. In town there are lots of decorations up- it is looking like a colourful, musical weekend.
Carnival colour

As some of the schools are on holiday at the moment we have had a few parents and children come to see us at the centre. 
Children and parents getting some information about the terrapins
We will be posting photos tomorrow of the release of Sharky and Fatso so stay tuned.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Camera, set, action

Since the opening things have been getting quieter. We are still checking hawksbill nests and now have only 5 left to dig up, the last one is due to hatch on the 27th April. 
Last week we found two unhatched eggs in one nest with perfectly formed embryos- unfortunately something stopped development and they didnt make it. 

The terrapins in the tanks are doing well, Little Project our hatchling, has grown several mm in the last few weeks and is steadily putting on weight. It is also starting to look like a yellow-bellied terrapin hatchling which is fantastic news as this is the rarer of the 2 species. Fatso is living up to her name and getting attached to the reptile food and we also found evidence that Stumpy and Haze are enjoying snails. All have also put on weight since the last weighing sessions; positive signs that they are doing well.
Weighing and measuring terrapins

Last Friday we were joined by a film crew from our main funders UNDP-GEF to record what we do at the centre and with the hotel. They were with us to record the monthly weighing and measuring of all the terrapins and also some beach patrol work. This documentary will be used by them to increase awareness about the work they do and what is possible, on both a regional and international level.
Recording a voice-over for the documentary
In March Vanessa, otherwise known as 'Turtle Lady', attended training for some new equipment, 2 drones. These will be used for beach monitoring, anti-poaching and whale shark spotting amongst other things. The new toys arrived recently so we got to watch them being setup for a first flight in Seychelles. 
The long range drone (plane)

Hexacopter  - both have cameras attached for recording sightings

As well as having hotel guests coming to see the centre and surrounding garden, over the next few weeks we will be joined by a number of schools and youth groups who wish to discover more about the centre and the wetlands. Word is spreading and we hope it continues so that children can come and learn about, and appreciate these amazingly diverse ecosystems.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


There has been much sweat and many blisters over the last week or so while we have been making sure the outside of the centre was presentable. This included moving 10 tonnes of gravel in and around the terrapin and turtle treatment tanks. 

The first of the gravel arriving and the team starting to level with sand and spread out the gravel
In addition, all the paintings had been completed inside along with the posters and other displays.  

Educational displays in the main room 
Finally, yesterday, 31st March, was the Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation Centre’s official opening. 

We were joined by the Minister of Environment, hotel management, Vet services, University of Seychelles, a number of people from other conservation NGOs, local newspaper and TV reporters and representatives of many of the sponsors and supporters. Everything went smoothly and the rain held off until everyone had left.

Minister of Environment cutting the ribbon with the General Manager of Banyan Tree and Chairman of MCSS.

The day before the opening turned into a very hectic day. As not only did we have all the last minute preparation to do for the centre opening, we also had a school group come to learn about wetlands and sustainable living. Two classes (about 50 children) from the International School spent the morning walking through the wetland with us, getting a talk about the terrapins in the centre before finally being given a tour of the hotel vegetable garden. On the same day we had a journalist from National Geographic Traveller Magazine join us for several hours to visit the centre and participate in a beach patrol to get an idea of our work.

After 5 months of trapping for terrapins Tuesday morning saw us removing the traps for the last time as we completed the last of 6 cycles through our trapping sites (48 sites).

So the next few weeks will be continuing with the final turtle nest monitoring, putting together the data for the terrapins and hopefully welcoming people to the centre. Finally, a massive THANK YOU to all those who have supported the project (and us) in so many ways over the last few months. 

Unfortunately we are still slightly short of funds for the vital portable x-ray machine so any useful contacts and donations are still more than welcome. In the next post we will be telling you different ways you can support the centre.