By Carlena Knight
As the restoration programme continues on Redonda, officials from the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) are reporting an increase in several wildlife species on the island.
Johnella Bradshaw, Redonda Ecosystem Reserve Coordinator, made the revelation on Observer AM yesterday. She and other officials from the EAG, plus the National Parks Authority, have been conducting their annual wildlife monitoring trip on the offshore island.
Bradshaw explained that while there was no evidence of rats on Redonda since they were eradicated in 2018, there is a spike in the number of other – welcome – creatures.
“We are seeing an increase in the crabs. So, we have this unusual dark blue, dark purple crab. The last time we were here, there were a few but now they are out in their numbers.
“We are observing a lot of great things. The Redonda ground dragon, their numbers are increasing, we are seeing a lot of them around, especially the tree lizard.
“We kind of have a joke on camp that we never see the tree lizard in trees because those are now coming back up, so they are always in rocks and boulders, so we are now referring to them as the rock lizard,” Bradshaw said.
Redonda was officially declared rat and goat-free in July 2018.
Bradshaw also went into detail about what the team has been doing during their week-long trip.
“We are here collecting data on seabird counts, lizard counts, gecko counts.
“We are doing our bi-security checks and that’s where we go around and have 32 bake stations on the island centered on the north and the south.
“A bake station is where we have our little bake blocks — our poisons — and we have our chocolate resins that we kind of use as an indicator to see what sort of activity is going on with the insects, what sort of bite marks we see on them, what sort of droppings are in these boxes, identify them and record that important data,” she disclosed.
Comparing photos for vegetation progression on the island and invertebrate surveys were also conducted.
The team was expected to return to the mainland today after camping out for five days on Redonda.