Hey everyone, my name is Sebastian and I am an Intern at the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles. I am from Germany, 24 years old, studying Environmental Sciences in the Netherlands.
I have spent 13 weeks at MCSS so far and seven more are to come.When I arrived in the Seychelles I started working on the AFCCP (Anse Forbans Community Conservation Program) and continued working on it throughout my internship. The AFCCP includes working with Terrapins, the Anse Forbans Community and some of their projects (e.g. Anse Capucins Hike) and the wetlands of Anse Forbans.
The office (Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation Center) where the team conducts research is located in the Banyan Tree resort at Anse Intendance in the South-West of Mahé. The team here is lovely and incredibly welcoming. The motto ‘One team – One dream’ was implemented and is now a solid part of the working environment here.
|Figure 1: Anse Intendance|
When it comes to field work most of it is done in the wetlands of Anse Forbans, Anse Royale and Anse Intendance. Anse Forbans and Anse Royale are mainly for Terrapin trapping whereas Anse Intendance, next to Terrapin trapping, is also for Turtle and Bird monitoring as it includes not only wetlands, but a great beach for turtle nesting, too.
In 2016 the Anse Intendance beach was #2 in having the most turtle nests on Mahé.
Most of the work I have done here so far includes Terrapins. The purpose of the Terrapin trapping is to determine the amount of Terrapins that is there in the Seychelles (Mahé only). There are two species of Terrapins in the Seychelles; Black Mud turtle and Yellow Bellied turtle. The Yellow Bellied terrapin is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN list so it is important to determine how many of them are left.
Once a Terrapin is caught the species and sex will be determined, they are weighed and measured and marked with nail polish on the carapace (Friendly way of tagging a terrapin). Everything will be noted down and also saved in the database. Then a picture of the Carapace and Plastron will be taken. The picture of the Plastron is going to be used for the database (local database of MCSS) of already captured Terrapins. In case there is a recapture it will show the recorded Terrapin as the Plastron is always unique. After that process they are released back into the wetlands, in the same site where they were found, in order for them to continue following their natural behavior.
Time flies when you are having fun. I hope the next seven weeks are just as great as the ones that have already passed.