Taking mountain chickens into the forest

Having got the first batch of frogs out and into the forest there was little time to relax as it was soon time to get ready the final group… last but not least. Preparations were smooth as the team new exactly what to do from the night before. The last of the mountain chickens left in the facility were swabbed, photographed and had their stitches removed by Javier (Durrell’s head vet) before being placed into colour coded bags and then into boxes with packaging ready for lift off. It feels so nice to be swabbing mountain chicken legs again. The feet are so much bigger than the tree frogs and you can really get in between the toes. The guys back at Durrell have also been taking care of these frogs really well as they were a nice size, much bigger than the release mountain chickens last year (of course because they have had another year to grow). They are also a beautiful colour with vibrant orange down the sides and the striking leg stripes…like the tigers of the forest.

Having arrived at the release site with the frogs, little Llotese quickly got straight in there

Helping with the mountain chickens

to help Gerardo put the first group of frogs into the tent. Blacka and I whizzed off around the forest to put up the frog loggers so we can hopefully record more frog calls for our data. By the time we got back to tent number three the frogs were already inside and calling merrily away, I think they like it in there.

It was so nice to sit down and relax a little whilst the mountain chickens got acclimatised to their new home and had time to chill out before the tent doors were opened. When the time came to open the doors some of the mountain chickens bounded out ready to see the forest for the first time and some were a little more hesitant, nice and comfortable in tents, relaxing to the sounds of the forest.

Mountain chicken toes

In the meantime whilst all this was going on the volunteers were busy with Matt (Project Leader) radio-tracking the frogs which were relased yesterday to try and get locations on them to make sure we still knew where they were and to get some early practice in.

When all the frogs were finally out of the tents we packed everything away to give them some peace and quiet. It won’t be long before we are back checking on them but for now it’s “welcome back to Montserrat mountain chickens”!

Sarah-Louise Smith


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