Friday, 29 May 2015

Conservation News: Denis Private Island

Conservation Update from Denis Private Island and the Green Islands Foundation

Denis Private Island is committed to ensuring that her numerous treasures remain for our future generations to enjoy. That is why the management of the island works closely with the Green Islands Foundation (GIF) to ensure that the management of the island's ecology is such to ensure the development and maintenance of a healthy and pristine ecosystem. 

Below is an update on some of the changes and implementation on Denis Private Island. 

New Conservation Management
Denis Private Island and Green Islands Foundation (GIF) are happy to welcome two new members of the Denis Island Conservation Team, Dr. Janske van de Crommenacker (Environment Manager) and Dr. Martijn van Dinther (Biosecurity and Habitat Manager). The two biologists have been working on several islands in the Seychelles since 2002. GIF hope that Janske and Martijn will, together with Mr. Andre Labiche who so far carried the Denis Private Island Conservation Team all by himself, be able to expand and improve the conservation work on the island. 


Turtle work on Denis Island revised 
From the 13th to the 15th of May, Green Islands Foundation arranged for Dr. Jeanne Mortimer to visit the Denis Private Island Conservation Team. Dr Mortimer is a specialist in the biology and conservation of sea turtles and has been working in Seychelles since 1981. Denis Private Island is used as nesting and foraging ground for two species of sea turtle, the Green turtle and the Hawksbill turtle. Compared with the other inner islands, Denis appears to attract a large number of nesting green turtles, which is most likely related to the extensive beds of sea grass that they use as food source.

It would be very interesting to gather more knowledge of Denis' turtle populations and compare their abundance with other Seychelles' islands. To this end, the data collection protocols are now being revised so that the data is comparable with the data collected on a national level. A turtle tagging programme will be set up as well, to recognize individual turtles when they return to nest on Denis Private Island or other islands in the future.


PIT tagging of giant tortoises
Denis Private Island has obtained equipment for tagging the tortoises on Denis Private Island with micro-chips — i.e. Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tags. During her visit, Dr. Jeanne Mortimer trained the Denis Island Conservation Team to deploy the PIT tags on the giant tortoises. Tagging the tortoises makes it possible to individually recognize them without giving them a marking that is visible from the outside. The individual mark makes it possible to monitor them individually (growth, health, behavior).


Marine survey May 2015 
From the 19th-24th May GIF staff carried out marine surveys around the island. The new Denis Private Island conservation team was given the opportunity to assist and learn the methodologies used by GIF staff. There are three key areas of importance surrounding  Denis Island consisting of the beaches and intertidal flats, the adjoining reef / sea grass flats to the north, east and south of the island and the area stretching along the western edge of the Denis Island plateau. 

To discover Denis Private Island for yourself, contact Mason's Travel!

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