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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mangroves, Mud and Monkeys

Tobias, filling out the survey forms 
Mangroves are an important factor in a healthy ecosystem, they are however one of the most threatened habitats. As a result GVI conducts surveys in the local Shimoni mangroves to assess the tree species coverage, diversity, health and changes to this important ecosystem. These surveys are conducted on a weekly basis and are often a highlight for any volunteers involved.

With an early start to the day a group of volunteers including myself headed out to conduct a mangrove survey. The walk began along the road heading through the East side of Shimoni Forest eventually turning in towards the shelf – where the forest meets the water. After a quick break, an egg and mayonnaise sandwich and some bird watching we all climbed down the fisherman’s ladder and headed out towards the sea.  The tide was on its way out as we made our way through the shallow water towards the beginning of the mangrove transect. It felt almost like a water aerobics class however with an amazing view of the receding ocean it was well worth it. As we walked along we spotted Pied Kingfishers flying above as well as an African Fish Eagle sitting regally in the trees whilst crabs scattered away from underneath our feet. It wasn’t long before we had reached the beginning of the mangrove transect, at this point the tide had gone out further leaving behind a beautiful sandy white beach and blue waves crashing onto the rocks in the distance.

As we headed into the mangroves to begin our survey we all realised quickly it was not going to be as easy to walk through them as we had imagined.  Their bigroots where in every direction you turned, there were strange popping sounds created by the sulphur in the mud which also produces an egg like smell and on top of that your feet would sink into the mud leaving dirt all up your legs.It was hard going however it really was well worth the experience and having the opportunity to see the different types of mangroves and to be so immersed in it was amazing. 

Walking back through the ocean, after a hard days work
Before we knew it was time to head back - wading again through the ocean with the tide beginning to flow back in. When we finally reached the ladder to get back to the road we all felt a sense of accomplishment to have come so far and to have had such an amazing day filled with beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife as well as knowing that we have contributed to the collection of data that is so important for the long term survival of the local mangroves.

Maria Swenson- Conservation Intern