Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Litter-Picking In The Mangroves

Low tide amongst the mangroves revealed hundreds of tiny male and female fiddler crabs scuttling between little holes in the sand. The aim of our day though was to attempt to clean up some of the mountains of rubbish that travel the Indian Ocean currents from as far as south east Asia, to wash up on the East African coastline, trapped amongst the mangroves here on the southern shore of Wasini Island having floated through the Kisite Marine Park. Seeing all the cool little creatures that make the mangroves their home was an added bonus!

The open beach, exposed by the receding water, was so covered in small gastropods (and occasionally hermit crabs in shells they had commandeered from the gastropods) that we could not set foot on it for fear of crushing a delicate little home, and had to content ourselves with watching a group of yellow-billed storks through the trees. The male fiddler crabs put on a bit of a show for us and performed a strange sort of Mexican wave display with their one large claw; whether this was to try and attract the ladies or warn off others we weren’t quite sure.

All along the tide line seaweed intermingled with broken pieces of plastic, glass bottles, plastic bags and bottles, toothbrushes and flip flops. A five by ten meter path along the beach yielded five bin liners of rubbish and a bucket of glass, which was all we could carry back with us. It would take an army to clean all the debris that collects here from other parts of the world, and even then you’d be left with the feeling that just as much would be deposited after the next high tide. Walking back to base under the strain of our rubbish bags did, however, leave us with a small sense of achievement and as they say ‘every little bit helps’!