Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Myna eradication internship on North Island

Volunteers checking the traps
Our experience on North Island for the Mynah eradication internship was amazing. It has always been a dream to visit the astonishing North Island, but we consider ourselves as two of the "lucky ones" because  we got to stay and call the place home rather than just a visit. 

Most people were concerned when they heard about "killing mynas" and almost everyone had a negative response towards it. But both of Krystel and myself have been involved in environmental activities since primary school, both worked for a while and now at university and we can say that we have enough background knowledge to know and understand that introduced invasive species needs to be dealt with, plants or animals, whether they are cute or not.

Decoy Myna in the trap
How can we have the guts to do such a thing? As typical Seychellois, most of us at some point in life have had to watch or kill a local chicken  at home for a good kari koko poul lokal. I must say that killing a chicken is not really a pleasant thing to watch especially when the chicken starts ruining headless. But for a myna, it is completely different, and the method used is one of the quickest, most peaceful, less cruel, and cleanest way without any blood or other body fluid exposed. So if you have cruelly killed a chicken at home before, you've got this. 

We were not only eradicating mynas. We were also involved in moorhen capture-recapture as a population density measurement since they were really interfering with our work by entering our baited traps (which we also learned how to make) and occupy the cages that were meant to capture the mynas. 
Volunteers setting up the trap

The work have helped us develop our ability to work without supervision and this has also boost us to be more responsible since everything was in our own hands. We were also able to observe and study the mynas and use our own creativity to come up with new techniques to capture more mynas. This is because mynas are very clever birds and they will get used to the catching techniques after a while. We are using a lot of excel at university and we had used alot for myna data entry and his has helped to practice, also to learn new tips. 

Krystel at work
I had previously worked with black parrots at the Vallee de Mai and I already had the taste of working with birds. But Krystel had not and it was a great opportunity for her to learn about how to hold a bird and measurements such as wing length, head-bill length, wing molt stages and others. Driving around the island in the gator was really exciting, but dissection to sex the birds was the most fascinating part of the job. One most entertaining part about dissection was putting bets on the sex of a bird caught as it is really difficult to say whether it is a male or a female just by looking. I must say I am really good at it and never lost haha.  

Krystel and I have done a really good for the few weeks that we were on the island. We were catching heaps of mynas by using traps, up to 10 mynas in one day and we felt more motivated each time we caught one knowing we are one step further in the eradication project. 

Dyllis taking measurements
It was a really fun job and we would have definitely loved to work as a full time paid job. We would definitely love to go back during holidays, that is only if the two new volunteers have not finished all the work since they are really good hunters too. 

Unforgettable experience!

Dillys and Krystel

Canned tuna used for the project are donated by Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) Seychelles, operated by Thai Union.

No comments:

Post a Comment