Just arrived back on terra ferma at Manaus from many days spent doing a river turtle field course with Dick Vogt and a group of Masters students from INPA (a Brazilian Research Institution) living on a boat on the Amazon River and Rio Trombetas (a tributary) for over a week. Many practical aspects of river turtle research were demonstrated. The most amazing was going out early in the morning with Camila and listening to wild turtles communicate!! How awesome. Went searching for turtle tracks on a nesting bank 2km long by 1km wide. Everything is BIG in the Amazon!! Tiaro Landcare’s network now includes many other Brazilians, as well as Mariana.
Had the privilege of meeting Nicholas Heard, the Fund Manager of Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund which is funding this season’s Mary River turtle project. A very enjoyable chat about our project, our visits to other turtle projects (TCC in Malaysian also receiving funds from MBZ!!) and finding out more about MBZ fund. Presented Nicholas with our turtle book, FCRC map and chocolate turtles which he will present to the Crown Prince!!
So soon, another stage of our journey is over, however through friendships formed and our experiences, relationships will continue with the folk at the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP). The friendliness of Sri Lankans and easy go attitudes made our visit even more enjoyable and of course, cups of tea!! Marilyn was able to help them with a funding submission to the European Union. TCP’s conservation and community development achievements are inspirational. The lives of so many people benefit from their programs, as well as the turtles, mangroves, farming. There are many opportunities for foreigners to volunteer with TCP – and from our experience, it would be most rewarding.
This is a government run terrapin hatchery on the banks of the Terengganu river. They collect the eggs from the nests and incubate in beds at the centre and release the hatchlings back to the river.
Our host, Daisy, always made sure we left with ‘bada pirila’ full stomachs after each meal. She had the most infectious smile and laugh. We’d recommend her cabana to anyone. Spotted at least 20 different species of birds just in the grounds surrounding the cabana.
Our host organised a guided tour of some of the spectacular National Parks, where we saw 71 wetlands and forest birds in one day. We also had an up close and personal experience with a cranky female elephant who seemed to be protecting one of only 7 tusked elephants in the park. We also saw 2 leopards, many water buffaloes, a few crocodiles, several spotted deers, a few Indian Palm squirrels, a Ruddy Mongoose, a few monitor lizards and a beautiful Indian rock python. As well as visiting a Botanical Gardens in the highlands near Nuwara Eliya. Debbie was excited to see so many tea bushes and we even stopped for a cuppa at a tea house on St. Clairs Plantation that went for miles. We have a better appreciation of the work that goes into a humble cup of Sri Lankan tea now.