Thursday, July 30, 2015

SOSF comes to visit

Last week we had a lovely visit from SOSF staff to come and explore our work here at the centre. Abbie fell in love with Project as he was finding the underwater camera lens very amusing. He is currently 20 grams, which is double his weight compared to two months ago. We gave them a tour around the entre and then brought them down to the wetland. They will be coming back but this time with a group of kids so hopefully I’ll be back to help out.
Project being as curious as ever!

As the wetland has been recently quite full we haven’t had many opportunities to do bird surveys. That being said, we did spot a few baby Chinese Bitterns last week around the wetland.

Pirate, who has been with us for two weeks, has not shown any signs of health problems so we will be putting him back in the wild this week. His left eye appears to be fully healed without causing him any distress. 
Pirate with his one good eye staring out from underneath his favourite spot in the tank.

Unfortunately we had no luck with our traps last week. The only thing we caught was a big freshwater fish that took us a few minutes to free due to its slimy scales. Hopefully we’ll have better luck this week!

Well tomorrow is a day filled with goodbyes as we'll be saying bye to Vicky, Pirate, Haze and Stinky. Read the blog next week to hear about our farewells!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stinky is amongst us!

I’ve had the pleasure to spend a whole week with Vanessa here at the centre and be lucky enough to witness the arrival of our fifth patient! 

One of the maintenance staff found Stinky, a yellow-bellied mud terrapin, in the back-pond of the farmland. He found her floating with practically no movement and so immediately brought her to us. We placed her in one of the Jacuzzis and observed her movements in hope that we wouldn’t find anything urgent or serious. In the end nothing abnormal about her physical appearance was found except for her inability to dive in normally. We therefore decided to keep her under observation until further improvement. 
Stinky in her jacuzzi!
Last Friday, we had visitors from the Summer Holiday Club. These young kids were first introduced to the farmland by Dave and then taken around the wetland by Rachel, Vanessa and myself. They seemed to already know a few things as some had already visited the centre in the past and many seemed quite excited by the few birds we managed to spot. Later Vanessa gave them a presentation about the centre’s work and information about the different species of turtles found in Seychelles. The visit ended with some activities on the beach and a big smile on the kids’ faces!

Another New Arrival

During the first week came Pirate and into my second week of volunteering we came across the 8th individual of yellow-bellied mud terrapins found in the wetland. Rachel’s reaction summed up the excitement of this new arrival! We brought her back to the centre to measure, weigh and take her identity photo.

China waving her hands for the camera!
I’ve been able to set insect traps as part of the monitoring process of the general wetland habitat. Although this time we had used honey as our insect-bate so the process ended up being quite messy!

On Wednesday I attended the weekly management cocktail and assisted Rachel in approaching hotel clients. It was satisfying to see that a few people were interested in the work that the centre has accomplished and is trying to achieve.  I believe it is a great aspect of the centre’s project to raise awareness of the critically endangered species amongst the clients and staff and teach them different ways they can contribute in protecting them.

Next week Rachel will be occupied in a workshop so I will have the pleasure to work with Vanessa.  Looking forward to a new week here at the centre! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

New arrivals: Vicky and Pirate (Vicky's post)

What feels like just a few days of excitement, discoveries and fun has already been a week working here at MCSS. I didn’t know what to expect nor what I’d be assigned to do but so far it has been an enriching experience.

My first day here required me to familiarise myself with the terrapins (Project, Humpy and Haze), learn about their daily needs and the technical aspects of monitoring them.
Project, being the first and most adorable patient of the rehabilitation centre, made me fall in love with the species of black-mud terrapins.
Vicky and Project
On my third day of trapping with Rachel we both had a wonderful surprise when we saw a little black-mud terrapin in the traditional fish trap (“casier”). As he was missing an eye we decided to give him an appropriate name: Pirate. Later that day we weighed, measured and fed him and brought him to his new enclosure. He has now officially become the thirtieth individual the centre has found.
Vicky holding Pirate, our newest patient
The location of the MCSS office for this project is in itself stunning. Not only do I get to work with an endemic species but I am surrounded by beautiful scenery and great company all day!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Visits and farewells pt. 2

Much to the excitement of Banyan Tree staff, the resort also won an award for being the best Green Resort at the World Travel Awards on Saturday 20th.

Chief of Engineering, Mr Boniface Lim receiving the Green Resort Prize on behalf of Banyan Tree.

Mr Boniface Lim with the Head of the World Travel Awards
On Wednesday, we had a visit from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) – they’d heard about our turtle work from someone at Nature Seychelles and made a last minute appointment to come see us!

We also had a visit form the Australian High Commissioner and a few of her colleagues. I am ecstatic to say that thanks to the Australian High Commission, we now have sufficient funds for our X-Ray Machine! It is expected to arrive towards the end of August and soon after its arrival, we expect someone to come over and train us.

On Friday we had a visit from the International School again. We had 46 children from Year 1 over to learn about the environment and over all I think it was a great success! The kids had a turtle presentation and got to walk around the wetland and the farm, learning about different plants and their uses. The children were extremely lucky in that they got to see a Grey Heron, a Night Heron and a Yellow Bittern, which is very rare!
Year 1M making their way down to the wetland.

As you already know, Irma left last Thursday; however I am pleased to say that a new volunteer started working with us on Tuesday 30th. Her name is Vicky and next week she will write the blog to introduce herself and talk about her first week here.
Vicky drying Baby Project.