As you may have heard, an oil spill off the coast of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, measuring over 160 kilometers in length, has now entered the waters of Grenada. We have reached out to our network of citizen scientists and wildlife advocates in the region and, fortunately, none have seen oiled wildlife thus far. Gulls returning to the Grenadines from South America will be traveling over the spill area and hopefully avoiding contamination. Our team will continue to monitor the situation, keeping eyes on the ground (or water as the case may be) to determine if an oiled wildlife response is needed.
We are already seeing the devastation to Trinidad's coastline and reefs and its effect on the tourism industry, forcing some resorts to close beaches. Oil spills can have long-term effects on the health of humans and wildlife and affect fisheries, so continued monitoring is necessary.
Thanks to donors like you, we can support our team as they monitor remote islands in the Grenadines archipelago. Our goal is to ensure these sites remain a refuge for diverse wildlife, from seabirds to sea turtles to rare reptiles for generations to come.
Thanks to your support, our citizen scientists kept an eye on seabird nesting areas during the peak breeding season, with most chicks fledging by July. Now there are fewer nests, likely an adaptation for avoiding the dangers of hurricane season, which ends in November, although there are some species that can be found nesting year-round.
We were happy to get reports of nesting Roseate Terns from surveyors. These small, white seabirds have bright red legs and feet, creating a striking contrast with their white body and black cap. They are called Roseate because of the pinkish hue of their breast. They mostly eat by diving into the water after small fish.
While this species is considered Endangered in the United States, its status is unclear in the Caribbean. Because they nests in small groups, scattered among smaller islands where there are usually less predators, it's dfficult to get a regional population estimate.
Thanks to your support, our volunteers continue to monitor threatened species like the Roseate Tern. Fortunately, there were no reports of egg harvesting, which can be a problem for tern species, and no fires. We'd like to think that our message is continuing to spread that seabirds are important for the health of our oceans and have cultural value, like showing fisherfolk where to find schools of fish. While threats to seabirds remain, it is encouraging to see the resilience of birds like the Roseate Tern.
While protecting seabird nesting islands is of utmost importance, we also need to understand and protect the areas where the birds forage, where they find the food that nourishes the next generation back at the nest. With this in mind, we recently deployed GPS trackers on adult Red-footed Boobies nesting on Battowia island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a globally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA). The results show that some birds are far ranging. For example, one bird went north of Barbados on an overnight trip, covering about 500 kilometers (300 miles)! This data is an important tool in advocating for protection of marine habitats.
During the expedition, our team of researchers and citizen scientists from the Grenadines Seabird Guardians surveyed the Magnificent Frigatebird colony on Battowia. Being one of only approximately five frigatebird colonies in the entire Lesser Antilles, we are happy to report that many large chicks were observed!
With almost one hundred islands, islets, and cays, conducting seabird research at remote locations requires a significant amount of time and a reliance on the skills and experience of our Grenadines Seabird Guardians. Recently, we welcomed three highly skilled fishermen/seafarers as new members of the Grenadines Seabird Guardians to monitor seabird populations. These individuals were trained by Vaughn Thomas, a fisherman and sailor who has been part of the team since 2019.
To continue training and supporting volunteer citizen scientists with the Seabird Guardians, we rely on contributions from GlobalGiving donors. We are excited to announce that there's a great opportunity to support this work...GlobalGiving will MATCH DONATIONS over US $100 on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time! The higher the amount, the higher the match while funds last so we encourage you to donate early to ensure your contribution is matched.
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.