The ISS school bus laden with Class 4L arrived at the Banyan Tree hotel at Intendance in the deep south of Mahe, keen to fact find on the local fauna. Vanessa and Max at the MCSS Field office overlooking the swamp at Intendance were delighted to show the avid adventurers their museum displays featuring all you need to know about the hawksbill and green turtle and highlighting the need for environmental protection and plastic reduction. The centres grounds featured a spacious compound for six Aldabra giant tortoises and the ingeniously used de-commissioned Jacuzzis from the hotel which housed a pair of recuperating black mud turtles or ‘soupap’ in Kreol, which will hopefully be returned to the wild in the near future. The Banyan tree tour culminated with a boardwalk safari around the fresh water swamp where the highlight was a fleeting glimpse of a rare yellow bittern in flight.
All aboard Raymond’s bus and next step Anse Petit Police… no sign of any recent turtle emergences here , but onwards to Grand Police a short stroll through the jungle where a surprise awaited. A hawksbill turtle had just laid on the beach crest of this pristine beach… the southernmost point of Mahe. A near miss to actually witness the successful nesting, but the class helped Vanessa to measure data on the track width and marked the nest site so progress can be monitored over the next 8-10 weeks of egg gestation. The searing heat didn’t deter the energetic environmentalists from visiting the lagoon at the east end of Grand Police and enjoying a picnic lunch and games in the shade of the forest before leaving Grand Police tired and contented for the drive up the east coast back to school. Many thanks to the Banyan tree and to MCSS and especially Vanessa, Max and Megan.
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