Pictured here is a displaying male frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) at the
globally important nesting colony on Great Tobago.
Initiative takes to the skies
For the past three weeks the staff from the Darwin project have been back in
Anegada monitoring the bird and turtle activity and have literally taken to the
skies in their effort. With the help of the BVI Police Surveillance plane and
crew, project staff have expanded their turtle efforts beyond Anegada and have
begun conducting aerial surveys of all the potential turtle nesting beaches in
the BVI. The Darwin project staff are delighted with the support of the BVI
Police Department and when asked about the expansion of the project Darwin
Project Officer Dr Andy McGowan said "Without the BVI Police Department kindly
donating their time and flying expertise this level of beach monitoring would
just not have been possible and all the project partners are thrilled to have
the BVI Police Department involved in the project. Anegada will continue to be
the central focus of the Darwin Initiative project, but we felt that by
encompassing all of the beaches in the BVI we would be able to provide a much
clearer picture of the number of turtles nesting here and the data that we
collect will be much more valuable".
is not just the turtle work of the Darwin project that has been expanding beyond
Anegada. Project staff have also undertaken an initial survey of the nesting
seabirds throughout all of the BVI and the results of this survey will directly
feed into the Important Bird Areas directive currently being worked upon by the
staff at BVI National Parks Trust. The BVI is regionally important for almost
all of its nesting seabirds and in some species cases it is globally important.
Despite all the additional activities of the Darwin project staff the work on
Anegada continues. The bird surveys have revealed that the Greater flamingos
have been relatively successful this year and the latest survey counted 15 new
chicks which all appeared to be doing well. Further to this 8 new species have
been added to the growing bird list for the island. The turtle work also
continues and although no turtle nesting has been recorded as yet 21 new turtles
have been caught, tagged and released.
More information on the project can be accessed on the project website
www.seaturtle.org/mtrg/projects/anegada or interested parties can contact BVI
Conservation and Fisheries Department, Road Town, Tortola, 284-494-5681.
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