Monday, 3 August 2015

Shark preservation training

Mr. Perdijk demonstrating the preservation procedure
Following our Shark identification training, we hosted a workshop to teach and demonstrate shark preservation techniques. The training was conducted by an expert shark preserver Bas Perdijk from the Netherlands and gathered participants from various organisations like the Natural History Museum, Seychelles National Parks Authority, Seychelles Fishing Authority and Save our Seas Foundation.

Take measurements of the shark before preservation
The shark specimens collected for the identification training last week are being preserved. This allows us to set up a reference collection of shark species to be put on display at the Natural History Museum. This will ensure the specimens do not go to waste and are used for future educational purposes in species identification or general awareness about sharks. The collection can also be used for scientific purposes to showcase regional differences of the species.

Based at La Bastille heritage site, Mr. Perdijk gave a step by step demonstration of how to preserve sharks in phenoxyethanol solution. This solution is deemed the safest option compared to alcohol (flammable) or formaldehyde (poisonous) solution. He also explained how to properly store fresh specimens awaiting preservation in the absence of a preservation expert, which is very important in Seychelles, where such expertise is not readily available

Insert the fixation fluid in strategic places likes the eyes,
snout, dorsal fin, tail etc
Stuff the shark with cleaning paper, cloth or wood
until the shark shape is correct.

The GIF Shark project is funded by the GEF Small Grant's Programme and aims to build local capacity and increase awareness about the importance of these marine apex predators.

As an added bonus, Mr. Perdijk took the opportunity to demonstrate a basic preparatory taxidermal procedure: how to skin a dead bird. For this he used a very special bird, namely the very last Myna that was shot on Denis Island as part of our successful Myna Eradication project. We will make sure this bird will get a special place in the conservation section of the island!

According to Mr. Perdijk the variety of species included in the shark collection we are making in Seychelles is unique in the world.

Participants viewing the preserved sharks

Contact details of Mr. Bas Perdijk
Curator, preserver, taxidermist

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