We hope this report finds you well. The biodiversity project is officially up and running on the Thai Elephant Reintroduction Project in Huay Pakoot. The main focus of the project is elephant reintroduction into the surrounding forests, but establishing the local biodiversity is of equal importance to conservation of the surrounding area. Proposals Submitted for camera traps to be purchased and placed in the forest in order to capture nocturnal and allusive wildlife. The funding was approved in January and the cameras are scheduled to arrive within the next few weeks. GVI will work with the local villages who are keen to help place the cameras in prime local wildlife hotspots.
In addition to the camera traps, night hikes commenced on the 16th of Jan and are a now a weekly activity; guided by one of the very experienced locals who brings a wealth of information to the local biodiversity. Each hike lasts approximately roughly 2 and a half hours covering dense forest and waterways.
The night hikes provide the opportunity for volunteers and staff to experience the forest in a completely unique way. The volunteers have enjoyed the hikes deeply; eye shine has been spotted for either a giant black squirrel or flying squirrel and barking deer. Animals encountered include amphibians, the same sleeping bird on each hike and the illusive porcupine tracks.
Other opportunities to look for biodiversity include an alternative hike to the elephant hike on a Wednesday morning. This involves either hiking to the caves or along the river, giving volunteers a chance to see a different part of the forest and look for biodiversity in new areas. Birds and insects have been spotted. Volunteers are now encouraged to actively identify all species spotted on all hikes (including ele hikes). They are also encouraged to partake in bird watching before hikes. Establishing the local biodiversity of the local area gives the project a unique opportunity to observe the wealth of wildlife which inhabit the densely forested area, and can greatly contribute to the long term sustainability of the forest.
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