The North Island myna eradication – update January 2017

A pair of Common Mynas in Seychelles (photo Chris Feare)
A pair of Common Mynas in Seychelles (photo Chris Feare)

Earlier posts have described progress in the myna eradication project on North Island, Seychelles. The eradication has been proceeding well and is approaching its final stages. Green Islands Foundation, who are administering the project, are now advertising for a new volunteer (https://greenislandsfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page_29.html) to assist with the completion of the eradication. The full advertisement is printed below.

 

 

 

Are you interested in volunteering in environment on a private island in Seychelles?

Volunteer position for

Common Mynah Eradication Officer

 

Responsible to GIF Project Manager

green_island_foundatio__logo_colourGreen Islands Foundation (GIF)

GIF function as a coordinator for environmental initiatives on (a.o.) North Island with the vision that North Island is recognized internationally as a model of sustainable development and ecotourism realizing synergies from the successful harmonization of tourism, production landscape and conservation activities.

 

Background

North Island is a high end luxury island resort in Seychelles has been implementing an active island rehabilitation programme, which includes ongoing restoration of the native forest habitats that occurred prior to their destruction after the introduction of the black rat and subsequent agricultural exploitation as a coconut plantation. Since 2010, this programme has been implemented with the assisstance of GIF. So far, rats have been eradicated, many hectares of the island have been (partially) rehabilitated and indigenous trees and bushes, grown in the island’s nursery, have been planted in prescribed areas. The resulting forest on North Island was considered to represent habitat suitable for some of Seychelles’ endemic bird species that were vulnerable to extinction on the islands where they survived.

 

In order to provide a degree of insurance against possible losses elsewhere, the endemic white-eye (Zosterops modestus) has been translocated to the island in 2005. Common Mynas, which are considered one of the top 100 most invasive species globally, are believed to interfere with nesting endemic birds and compete with them for nest sites. They have also been observed predating on endemic bird chicks and eggs. Additionally, about 25% of the Seychelles warblers caught in earlier studies on Denis Island in Seychelles had serious head wounds and subsequent studies gave strong indication that these were caused by attacks by Common Mynas. Research in Denis Island, on which the Common myna was eradicated by GIF, has shown that these endemic birds populations have shot up after successful completion of the project, indicating that the removal of Mynas from small islands is essential for conservation of wildlife on these islands.

 

To assist in the ongoing and future success of the island’s population of endemic birds on North Island, removal of Common Mynas is considered an important component of the environmental restoration programme. With the experience of running such eradication projects and seeing the complexity of the challenge and the tenacity of the pest, Green Islands Foundation is looking for a Myna eradication officer to assist with the eradication project that is currently ongoing.

 

Participating in this project will give the successful applicant the opportunity to work together with experienced conservation staff and researchers and give hands-on experience and training in bird handling and dissecting methods and invasive alien species management which is becoming increasingly important globally. This project will also give you access to a large network of local and global conservationists, proven experience in both project management and creatively overcoming problems in a low-tech environment. If you’re looking for a career in SIDS conservation or invasive species management, this project will give you a head start.

The Myna eradication officer will be working together with another Myna eradication office, a conservation hunter (during the shooting phase of the project), the North Island environment staff as well as GIF project manager and will be reporting to the general manager of GIF.

 

The Objective

To eradicate the Common Myna from North Island

 

Type of contract

6-8 month contract on voluntary basis, to start around March 2017

 

Applicant requirements

  • Proven ability to live and work in a remote location for an extended period of time (required)
  • Experience with hands on conservation projects (preferable)
  • Ability to communicate and report in English (required)
  • Be resourceful, creative, hard working, solution driven, focused and team oriented
  • BSc or MSc in environment, conservation, or related sciences (preferable)

 

Key responsibilities

  • Trap construction and maintenance
  • Implementing the eradication plan as stipulated by eradication expert and team leader and testing new methodologies as necessary
  • Trapping and culling Common Mynas
  • Data collection and processing in database
  • Taking standardized measurements and bird dissection
  • Training of North Island staff to assist in the eradication
  • Closely liaise with staff involved in the eradication, whilst on the island.
  • Ensure capture of and caring for decoy Mynas on North Island
  • Observe and document behavior and movements of mynas on the island
  • Function as ‘spotter’ for myna hunter (during shooting phase only)
  • Ensure weekly reporting of progress to the GIF general manager
  • Provide detailed final report before end of contract

 

Green Islands Foundation and North Island will provide the successful applicant(s) with:

  • A return trip to North Island from Mahe, Seychelles upon successful completion of contract
  • Accommodation and full board while on North Island
  • Accommodation while awaiting travel from Mahe to and from North Island
  • Administrative costs of a Seychelles Gainful Occupation Permit (this excludes any medical investigations)

 

Please email General Manager at office@gif.sc with your CV and cover letter.

If you have any questions about this role, please do not hesitate to contact email above or phone: 00248-4288829

 

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