Monday, February 29, 2016

Just a few lines...

This week at the centre I’ve gotten started with the bat surveys, surveying around the reserve for the endangered sheath tailed bat. No bats have been detected yet, but we aim to complete around 20 surveys over the next few weeks, so fingers crossed! The reserve contains the type of habitat that these bats have been known to forage in so we are hopeful.

Only one terrapin was caught this week, a recapture named Pingu who we last saw just last week! At the centre we’ve had lots of visitors including two little helpers this Friday, who came along on our beach patrol and learnt all about turtle biology.

We have found a new species!
 We’ve also been continuing with bird surveys and this week we spotted a Blue Seychelles pigeon, it’s nest and also a sun birds nest.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rain, terrapins, hatchlings & Bats!

Introducing Cholo!
This week saw the passing of a big storm, the rain came down non-stop for three full days and the terrapin tanks had to be frequently emptied to remove all the rain water. The water levels in the wetland were extremely high and some parts of the road became flooded. We have had just two recaptures this week, both black mud terrapins and both recaptures; Pingu and Polly. In addition we were given a very small hatchling terrapin named Cholo by the hotel staff.

 This is very exciting as it suggests that we definitely have breeding populations of terrapins on our wetland reserve! A few months ago we were capturing several pregnant terrapins and now that we are seeing hatchlings we are beginning to learn more about their reproductive biology. Other news from the centre; the bat detectors have arrived on site and I’ve spent part of the week assessing the wetland for good survey routes to begin surveying for the Seychelles Sheath Tailed Bat.  More updates to come!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Holly's experiences so far......

My name is Holly and I joined the MCSS team two weeks ago, I’ll be updating the blog for the next couple of months. Last week bought the release of our smallest ever caught terrapin, a black mud terrapin named ‘Mini Me’ who weighed only 6! Terrapin trapping has been fairly quiet, only one Black Mud terrapin was caught this week, a female who I named Snorkel. We took her X-rays and marked her with purple varnish before releasing her back in to Pond 2. On Tuesday we conducted the monthly water tests and found everything was in order.

So small!
Introducing Minime!
We have also been conducting bird surveys on the wetland and creating new maps of the wetland area using GPS. This is so that we can refine our maps of the terrapin trapping sites and help us to do some spatial analysis of the monitoring data. We’ve made a major development on the Grand Police Wetland! We can now confirm the presence of a new endemic species; an endangered Caecilian called ‘Frigate Island Caecilian’ that Inga caught this morning with the help of a local expert. The discovery of this mysterious amphibian reminds us how important the wetland reserve is! He was very active and had to be sedated for his X-ray, after collecting some data he was released back into the reserve.

We are currently setting into motion plans for surveying the bat populations on our wetland reserve. We already know we currently have a strong population of fruit bats and we are hoping to find the endemic Seychelles Sheath Tailed bat; Coleura seychellensis. This species are incredibly endangered, listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN redlist with fewer than 100 individuals thought to be left on the island. These surveys will involve taking Bat Detectors out for transect and point surveys. More news to come!