Things are really getting back into the swing of things as we prepare for the next release which is due at the end of this month. However, before we could concentrate on our new group of release frogs we had some guests visit Montserrat to take part in the third quarterly Project Steering Committee meeting. Dr. Reginald Thomas, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Dominica and Mr. Stephen Durand, the Assistant Forest Officer responsible for the mountain chicken work conducted in Dominica were flown over by the project to attend the meeting. Dr. Andrew Cunningham from Zoological Society of London and Mr. Matt Morton, the eastern Caribbean Manager for Durrell and Project Leader also attended to present to the committee the draft of the Research Strategy put together by the project scientists. This document is necessary to guide the research not only for the project but also for the whole Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme which also takes into account the work necessary in Dominica.
The meeting was very successful with many discussions taking place regarding the Research Strategy and there were also presentation updates from Mr Durand regarding the work in Dominica and Mr Lloyd Martin on the progress with the release in Montserrat.
Dominica are part of the wider Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme which was formed before chytrid arrived on Montserrat and was established to work over longer time scales to try and re-establish the mountain chicken as a species regionally throughout the Caribbean. Therefore the aims and work of the programme are much wider than this project, but the work of the Darwin Initiative is just part of the overall work conducted by the programme. It is important therefore, that as the only other island in the world to have a remaining population of the mountain chicken Leptodactlyus fallax that Montserrat and Dominica work together to share knowledge and skills to protect the last remaining individuals of this species. Meetings such as these are important and a good opportunity for us to make the necessary contacts and connections to enable us to reach this goal.
– Sarah-Louise Smith (Project Coordinator)