Pond construction – update 1
As part of the mission to save the critically endangered mountain chicken, our first milestone is to bring the captive bred mountain chickens back to Montserrat, as part of a reintroduction programme. During the run up to this very exciting moment of being able to release healthy, disease free animals back into their natural habitat, the team in Montserrat had plenty to do as part of the preparations for the arrival.
When the mountain chickens arrive on Montserrat we will be housing them in 10 temporary ponds for a few days before being released. This is so that they can recover from such a long journey and build up their strength ready for being released back into the forest.
The local fire engine came to wash out the area where the ponds will be kept, and thank goodness the firemen came to help, because a job which would have taken a whole day with a couple of brooms and a garden hose took about 30 minutes (and was far more exciting to watch!). Tarmy, our local carpenter, then spent a night constructing the wooden frames for the ponds.
The next job was to wash the liner for the ponds. It has a nasty coating on it (the waterproofing agent) which we needed to remove as it is toxic for the frogs. We rallied our friends from across the island and barefooted, we scrubbed until all the waterproof coating
was off on each side of the liner. We took it in turns to be the ones wielding the hand-held brushes, as it involved being on hands and knees in the washing powder bubble frenzy, which got a bit hard on the knees after a while! The liner was then rinsed thoroughly, and by running water over the liner we were able to see if the waterproof coating had come off: water no longer ‘beads’ once the waterproofing is gone.
After a long day in the sun, for which we thank our friends for all their help, we went for a well deserved beer!
– Isabel Jones