Zanzibar: Day 6

posted in: International Conservation | 0

Today was a long day, but it was quite fun!  

I first worked at a local plant nursery doing some weeding, planting palms in pots, and organizing their stock. It was an impressive nursery. I saw tons of butterflies here, and even some red ginger! I’ve never seen any in person, so I was excited to see it.

For the remainder of the day, I propagated tons of hibiscus and brought them to the reptile sanctuary and planted them in prepared beds. I also fed the sea turtles some tasty dinner of fresh seaweed that the other volunteers had harvested. The hibiscus will be used as feed for the reptiles for both enrichment and to allow visitors to feed them something interesting.

The hosts then brought me to their future nature trail, which is being created to teach visitors more about our ecosystem to hopefully spark a desire for conservation and help them develop a more intrinsic feeling for nature. They wanted me to give them feedback on what they have so far, which wasn’t too much quite yet, so they really gave me a blank canvas to put my ideas onto.

This is the feedback I gave them:

  1. Trailhead post with GIS map and marked trees to allow easy following through
  2. Maintenance to nature trail (remove fallen sticks, cut branches, rake leaves off trail)
  3. Propagate native ferns/groundcovers/plants of interest on forest floor
  4. Interpretations wildlife visitors may come across: butterflies, tortoises, birds, snakes, mammals, plants, focusing on: What they are and what they look like; Status (endangered, threatened, etc.); How they’re important in the ecosystem and how an ecosystem works
  5. Plant butterfly host plants along nature trails for more butterflies (I recommended they talk to the nonprofit butterfly center on the island, as they might give information or free plants for use. The hosts told me that they know a lepidopterist who may be able to help them as well).
  6. Interpretations on the geology of the area (the limestone rocks everywhere, fossilized coral, how Zanzibar or this area of the island was created, etc.)
  7. Areas/benches or hammocks to sit and relax, ‘hakuna matata’

My homework: 

1. Find out what plants attract colobus monkeys, so those species can be planted at the nature trail. I’ll be visiting the government-run Jozani Forest to study the colobus monkey habitat and look for opportunities to restore some of that habitat where the nature trail is. I also want to observe the monkeys eating to learn more about their food preferences.

2. Find out what can be fed to the turtles and tortoises at the reptile sanctuary by visitors


P.S. If you missed my first post about my work as a conservation volunteer in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, check that out here!