Monday, January 18, 2016

Introducing Laura!

My name is Laura and I came over from the UK to volunteer with the centre for three weeks. So far, my time at the centre has been very interesting. After a bit of orientation and adjustment to life in the Seychelles, I quickly started to feel like a true member of the team at MCSS.

What a catch!
5 in 1 trap!
In my first week we’ve done lots of terrapin trapping in the nearby ponds - there had been no trapping done for a month before I arrived. On Tuesday we checked the traps we had left overnight to discover we had caught five terrapins in a single trap, a new record! They were all Black Mud Terrapins, and included Sharky, who had previously been rehabilitated and released by the centre in April 2015. It’s good for us to recapture terrapins that have been at the centre before, so we know the rehabilitation worked! There were also two terrapins that had not been captured before, so one was named Julia and I got to name another - Mercedes. Mercedes was a big individual with a feisty attitude - which is why I liked her! After taking measurements, x-rays, and photographs of all the terrapins, as well as marking their shells with nail polish, we released them that very same morning. We will continue trapping in several sites, so hopefully we will find lots more new terrapins.

Releasing the terrapins
 As well as working with the terrapins, I’ve also been on a few turtle patrols on the nearby beaches. Although it can be hard work in the heat, it’s definitely worth it when we find some turtle tracks or even a new nest. Last Friday Vanessa and I got a call from Mary and Jon on Anse Intendance - there were hatchlings emerging! That was the first time I’d seen wild turtles and it was an amazing experience. Then on Wednesday I saw two adult hawksbills, one on Grand Police which was just leaving the beach, and the other on Intendance. That was the three-legged turtle that had laid there before. It was really cool to watch her as she covered her nest and then made her way to the sea - definitely one of the best wildlife experiences I’ve had!
Turtle encounter
  I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks will bring - hopefully lots more terrapins and turtles!