We have a beautiful new member of the mountain chicken family to introduce. He’s big, he’s bold and he’s ready to spread a conservation message to people island-wide!

No, we haven’t had any nests yet, but we do have a mountain chicken statue. This concrete frog signals the beginning of our exciting new outreach initiative, where we’re going to bring life-sized mountain chicken sculptures to schools all over Montserrat, who will act as colourful ambassadors for the project.

But he is so grey and plain, I hear you say! This is where the artistic skills and talents of Montserrat’s schools will play a part! The plan is for us to create a huge number of these stony creatures, that will then be painted and decorated by schoolchildren across Montserrat, to make the frogs as beautiful as the real-life versions. As we do this, we’ll run outreach sessions all about the mountain chickens’ adaptive colouration and camouflage- explaining why their stripy legs come in handy and why their green, brown and even gold hues are so important. We’re also going to enlist the help of Montserrat’s local artists to paint a series of beautiful mountain chicken sculptures in their own unique styles, representing each of our 26 frogs in the project’s semi-wild enclosure!

We have been inspired by Jersey Zoo’s sculpture trail, which involved 40 life-sized exquisitely decorative gorilla sculptures appearing all around the island of Jersey. We saw it again in Bristol with Aardman Animation’s Gromit sculptures that magically appeared overnight around the city. And very soon, our brightly coloured frog friends will follow suite and pop up around Montserrat in secret locations, accompanied by fascinating mountain chicken facts, so they can spread their conservation message far and wide.

The GoWild gorilla trail in Jersey and the Gromit trail in Bristol

The making of a mountain chicken is no mean feat. Using a statue kindly donated from a friend, we crafted a mountain chicken-shaped silicone mold, out of a mysterious purple goo and many layers of structural support as it set into place. 

Mountain chicken in progress

After mixing up a concoction of concrete and pouring it into the mold, things were looking promising. However unfortunately, this fallen frog warrior disintegrated as he was uncased from the mold (may he rest in peace).

Luckily, our second attempt was made of thicker, sturdier concrete and so emerged in one piece, with almost no imperfections! So here is the first stone mountain chicken making his way into the world, soon to be followed by many others.

We think this will be a great way to share passion and knowledge for the mountain chicken far and wide. It will be a way to bring families together and spend time visiting hidden areas of the island, whilst learning about this iconic species that is so integral to Montserrat’s culture. Watch this space- the cement frog army will be showing up around island very soon!

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