|Jenny (left) and Kitty|
I have just completed my first week as a volunteer at the Conservation Centre. Like Kitty, I am taking a gap year to expand my knowledge and experience of environmental issues and conservation. As the centre is surrounded by important wetland habitat, there are many long standing research projects monitoring the ecosystem here. This week I have assisted in monitoring terrapin populations, bird diversity and also water quality. I really enjoy the terrapin monitoring as we set out traps daily across the wetland and it’s always exciting when you check them and find more than just mud and leaves but also terrapins! I have learnt that the terrapins plastron pattern acts like our fingerprints, each one is unique and we are able to identify them from this and build up an understanding of the population here at the Banyan Tree. I think they are lucky to stay in such a protected and well maintained habitat, and on a 5 star resort!
The centre also rehabilitates other endemic species. Currently there are 6 giant tortoises in the back paddock, munching on leftover cabbages from the vegetable patch. They are huge, wrinkly and friendly, and relatively young at 40 years old as these tortoises can live to be over 200! After being kept as pets for a long time, it is hoped that once fully rehabilitated, they can be released back into the wild to live out their long lives. I really enjoy taking care of them here, they truly are gentle giants.
After a great first week, I am looking forward to what may be in store in the upcoming weeks here at the Centre.