The arrival

The team await mountain chickens and Javier
The team await mountain chickens and Javier!

After many weeks of waiting and preparing, the big day when we could finally welcome the frogs back to Montserrat was here.

During the morning we had been busy with all the final preparations, such as putting fresh leaf litter into the frog ponds. There was a lot of nervous tension the closer we got to late afternoon, when the frogs were scheduled to arrive. Finally we had the magic telephone call, the go ahead, that the frogs had cleared customs in Antigua and the charter flight to Montserrat was airborne.

Mountain Chickens return to Montserrat
The mountain chickens prepare for landing!

Three trucks in all hot-footed it up to theairport just as a huge rain storm came in from the Caribbean sea. With rain lashing we saw the tiny little plane drop out of the cloud base, land safely, and taxi round to the airport building. The frogs and Javier (our ‘super vet’ from Jersey) had arrived on island safely.

Out came the crates, carefully, one by one. And then in what felt like the blink of an eye, they were through all the checks in customs and were free to be taken to their ponds.

Mountain chickens being unloaded on Montserrat
The crates containing the mountain chickens begin to be unloaded

We backed the trucks almost into the departures area and with a great feeling of happiness, pride, and hope we carried them to each of the trucks in turn. Once all the crates were loaded we set off in a slow convoy, hazard lights blinking, through the last remaining spots of rain in the dusky light.

We unloaded the crates into the temporary holding facility and began the long long task of opening one crate at a time, examining each frog, taking biometric data and putting them into rehydration baths to make recovery from their long journey faster. Everybody had a role and the team worked hard, long into the night, until all the frogs were happily bouncing round in their new ponds. Before the end of the night, some were already calling!

At about 11pm we called it a night and celebrated the day with several well-deserved pizzas!

– Isabel Jones

Opening the crates of mountain chickens
Opening the crates and taking biometric data before the frogs are put into the ponds

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