Monday, March 23, 2015

March Blur

These last two weeks have passed by in a blur. The centre has an official opening date – March 31st! As a result we’ve been digging soil to fill up the tanks and to level the rehabilitation area.

Additionally, painting inside the centre has been completed and posters have finalised and for the most part been displayed in their appropriate places.

Last week was exhilarating and full of surprises, after a month of no terrapins we recaptured one of our first Black Mud Turtles and a security guard brought us another one later on in the day. On top of that, on Thursday we pulled out a trap to find no one, but TWO Yellow-Bellied Mud Turtles! This was the first Yellow-Bellied capture we’ve had in three months, and we are happy to report that both individuals had never been captured before.

One of the individuals was very large, similar in size to our very own Stumpy and we think he is a male, our first one so far. However, despite the similar size, the terrapin was over 50g lighter than Stumpy and his shell is concave so we think he could be underweight. Haze (as he has now been named due to his distinctive colouring) has been kept for observation.

Project, our baby terrapin is doing well and has been moved to a larger tank all by himself. Despite a scratch on his head and missing 3 claws he is feeding well and managing to catch the smaller fish in his tank. This gives us great hopes for his survival after his eventual release into the wetland.

Turtle season has come to a close and activity has quietened down. We’re only waiting on a few more nests to hatch and then Turtle Patrol here will be less frequent. Read our blog next week to find out about last-minute preparations for the centre opening!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Training, Arrivals and Departures

Dr Johanna (Wildlife Vets International) returned from the other islands and spent another day with us and the local Vet Services giving training on the first aid and treatment of sick and injured birds and reptiles. Very informative and a day full of hands on practice. Many thanks to WVI and Johanna for the assistance, bring us so much equipment and many entertaining wildlife vet stories.
Rachel and Vanessa get hands on practice giving injections to a dead egret chick under the watchful eyes of Dr Johanna

Explainging how to examine an Aldabran tortoise 

Our usual work continues but we have had a quiet week or so in terms of turtle activity but we have dug up a few nests. One contained a hatchling just emerging from the shell – called pipping – so we watched it break free and head down to the water along with two other clutch mates.
Hawksbill turtle hatchling breaking free

Over the last weekend we had unusually hide tides and big waves resulting in a lot of beach erosion. For us this meant the sad event of losing two of our nests to the sea. In these circumstances there really is nothing we can do to assist and remember that this is a natural event.

We also welcomed another terrapin to our family at the Conservation Centre last week. A terrapin hatchling was found not far from the centre by one of the gardeners and promptly named “Project”. At only 2.7cm long it is still too small to determine gender. This discovery is a great boost as we know the terrapins are breeding successfully in the wetland. We will give you updates on the development and progress of little Project in blogs to come.
Little "Project"- Black Mud Terrapin hatchling

We now have the tanks all set up and are just waiting to put in the gravel. Inside the centre we are cleaning up and making the final preparations to the visitors area. While this area is almost ready we are still working on the preparation and treatment rooms. Dr Johanna brought us a lot of equipment for treatment and we have an anaesthetic machine. However, we are now looking to buy a portable x-ray machine, a vital piece of equipment when dealing with birds and reptiles. While we have some funding towards this expensive machine we will be looking for donations to help us along. We will be setting up a webpage where you can get further information about what we are still needing and how you can make donations to assist the project and the welfare of wildlife in the Seychelles. Every little helps. ….stay tuned.