Tuesday, July 23, 2019

THe Maritime students are back!

Beach patrol on Anse Grand Police
Hi I’m Esthel Didon from Seychelles Maritime Academy and I’m  studying Advanced Certificate in Fisheries Science and Fishing Technology. I’m currently on attachment at MCSS (Marine Conservation Society Seychelles) at Intendance, WCRC & Terrapin Project.

During the work attachment trapping is one of the many activities taking place here. Trapping is done to catch terrapins around the wetland to monitor their development, as in growth and weight, and also marking them by colouring their scutes with nail polish for identification. Treatment can also take place if needed. There two species of terrapins found in Seychelles and they are both critically endangered, those are the Black muds and the Yellow belly. The traps for the terrapins are set on Mondays and are continuously monitored during the week for any terrapins, then the traps are removed at the end of the week which is on Fridays.
Invasive plant removal

In addition to the above, removal of invasive species is also done when necessary, as the word itself says it’s to prevent its invasion in the wetland. The invasive species causes many threats to the wetland most especially the terrapins, that might eventually create an imbalance in the wetland ecosystem.

Beach clean up
Nevertheless, beach patrol takes place everyday during the turtle’s peak season (mainly for the Hawksbill species), however when its not the peak season the beach patrol is done only once a week on 14 beaches down south that are covered for any turtle related activities such as nests, tracks, hatchlings and also human impacts (such as poaching, picnicking and pollution). The Green turtles usually nest all year round.

Besides the field work, there’s also interaction with the guests where I need to take the guests for a tour around the center and explain how things work, especially about the project itself.

Joshua's internship with MCSS

Beach patrolling
Hi, my name is Joshua Maria, I am currently studying environmental science at the University of Seychelles. My interest is doing wildlife activities, such as taking part in beach clean ups conducted by The Ocean Project. For the summer, I am undertaking my internship at the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles’ Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation Centre, located at Intendance. 
During the past few weeks of my internship, I have gained knowledge about freshwater terrapins and sea turtles, taken part in beach patrols. These required us to assess the beach for any sea turtle tracks or nests present, as most of the beaches located in the south of Mahe are popular sea turtle nesting sites.

Invasive plants removal at the banyan tree wetland
I also had the opportunity to assist the Animal welfare officer in relocating the 8 freshwater terrapins back to their natural habitat, at the recently rehabilitated Anse Royale wetland, witnessed by Anse Royale secondary and A level students. However, I had the most extraordinary start to my internship, because I witnessed the release of the hawksbill turtle named Pink, who was released back into the sea after 2 months of rehabilitation. I hope to come back for my next internship.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Harry the long term volunteer!

My name is Harry Johnson and I am with MCSS for 5-6months of volunteering. After graduating from my Master’s, I decided I needed some practical conservation/research experience. I chose MCSS because of their project on Temporal Protected Areas.
Investigating a possible turtle nest
Additionally, the Western Indian Ocean is an area which has received less scientific attention than others e.g. the North Atlantic in the field of marine science /conservation. This means it can be argued that data collected in this geographic area disproportionately more value than elsewhere.
Beach profiling with the ladies!

So far, I have learned how to feed and care for a variety of chelonians, learnt the protocols for beach patrols and what data to collect. Other skills include what to do from a research perspective when encountering a turtle that is nesting or attempting to nest. More novel skills include how to use a machete. I intend to broaden my skill set as much as possible during my time here and am confident that I will be a better researcher/ conservationist by the end of it. I have three personal goals as well; to improve my diving, to climb Morne Seychellois, and to see as much of the wildlife the Seychelles has to offer.