Saturday, February 13, 2010

MCSS and World Wetland Week

Things were hectic last week with Seychelles hosting the first ever World Wetland Week, an initiative by the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, the World Tourism Organisation and the Government of Seychelles. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Wetlands connect life and culture”.

Despite being on the local Wetland Scientific Committee, somebody forgot to invite Elke to many of the activities but Elke was able to turn up anyway - like a bad penny!

One of the activities, where Elke ended up being directly involved was a site visit to Intendance Wetland at Banyan Tree Resort for the signing of an agreement between the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to help countries that use their water ecosystems wisely.

Anada Tiéga (left) of the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and Sustainable Development Director of the Tourism Organisation, Luigi Cabrini (right), photo Elke Talma.

Elke found out about the event the day before and spent most of the next day photographing, measuring and marking terrapins for a symbolic release to commemorate the signing of this important document. The terrapins, currently living in an old water storage tank at Banyan Tree Resort, had been rescued from the road leading to the Resort, and were being held captive, primarily as a tourism attraction but also for their own safety. Some had been in captivity for over a year, and while MCSS is not directly involved in the Banyan Tree Wetland Rehabilitation Programme, Elke has been an unpaid part-time advisor to the programme, particularly with regards to the terrapins, ever since J.Lo made her acquaintance.

One of 7 terrapins from “Terrapin Rescue Centre” being released into the Intendance Wetland, photo Wilna Accouche.

In lieu of a planned site visit by the delegates, the terrapin pen had been dubbed a “Terrapin Rescue Centre” by yours truly, and boasted a pretty new sign, hot of the presses!

With 13 terrapins remaining in the Rescue Centre, delegates were able to see how well Banyan Tree staff were caring for the animals while in captivity.

Delegates visiting the Banyan Tree Terrapin Rescue Centre, photo Elke Talma

Despite being a gate crasher, Elke somehow ended up playing tour guide while delegates asked questions about the Banyan Tree Wetland Rehabilitation Programme before moving on to Intendance beach. Elke was once again on hand to describe the MCSS-BTS Turtle Programme.

Delegates learning about nesting turtles at Anse Intendance, photo Wilna Accouche.

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