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Defeating COVID-19

Defeating Covid-19 together.

Thanks to the support provided by Flora and Fauna International together with Marfund, the taxi drivers who are part of the transportation sector on the island of Utila, will be equipped with face masks, hand sanitizer, and quaternary ammonium, allowing the units to work with all bio measure security.

We are sure that the Tuk-Tuks from Utila are prepared to activate tourism.

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Combatiendo el Covid-19 juntos.

Gracias al apoyo brindado por Flora y Fauna Internacional junto a Marfund, se logró equipar con mascarillas, gel antibacterial y amonio cuaternario a los taxistas que forman parte del rubro transporte en la isla de Utila, permitiendo que las unidades puedan laborar con todas las medidas de bio seguridad.

Estamos seguros que los Tuk-Tuk de Utila estan preparados para activar el turismo.

Generación energía limpia y económica con paneles solares

Agradecemos la visita del señor Thomas Cieslik, servidor público de la embajada Alemana para el cierre del proyecto de paneles solares que fue financiado por dicha institución.

Les dejamos la publicación realizada por la Embajada de Alemania.

Embajada de Alemania en Honduras (@AlemaniaenHN) Tweeted:#Microproyecto🇩🇪🇭🇳 | 🦎 Donación de 24 Paneles Solares para la Estación de Iguanas @FIButila, Islas de la Bahía, para generar energía limpia y económica para el funcionamiento de las incubadoras de los huevos y crías de las #iguanas endémicas, Ctenosaura bakeri o #Swamper. https://t.co/qwi7sMD4Mj (https://twitter.com/Alemani…/status/1379861743128698881…)0

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Iguana Station Relief Fund

Iguana Station Relief Fund

2020 has presented a major setback for wildlife conservation across the globe. In the island of Utila, conservation actions were particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted the influx of tourists and volunteers whose financial aid and labor assist in the development of environmental education, wildlife monitoring, reforestation and sea turtle patrols. In the month of November, this was further exacerbated by the occurrence of hurricanes Eta and Iota, categories 4 and 5 respectively.

Although the Bay Islands were not directly affected by the harsh winds, the mainland did sustain heavy damage -which pushed thousands away from their homes. According to the United Nations, in Honduras alone there are 1.8 million affected by both hurricanes, with an estimate of 88,000 thousand men, women and children relocated in temporary shelters. Moreover, both the COVID-19 and the hurricanes have placed endangered species, such as iguanas, agoutis and sea turtles at an increased risk of poaching, illegal trade and persecution. According to a report published in Nature in June of this year, the tragedies mentioned above represent a major setback for conservation actions and a great threat for wildlife. The increasing economic hardship may force an increased exploitation of nature, leading many people to turn to poaching and illegal trade of species as well as deforestation of sensitive mangrove forests for timber.

This is why the Bay Islands Foundation and the Iguana Research & Breeding Station have launched this Iguana Station Relief Fund campaign. With your help we plan to continue our data collection, environmental education following biosafety guidelines and social distancing measures. With your donations we will hire field technicians that will help us with our monitoring in the absence of volunteers, purchase biosafety materials and also provide sustainable entrepreneurs with a starter fund to help them get back on their feet.

So, please go ahead and send your donations to paypal@utila-iguana.de. We will be forever grateful with you!

Iguana Station Relief Fund/ Fondo de Ayuda para la Estación de Iguana en Utila

El 2020 ha presentado un gran obstáculo para la conservación de la vida silvestre en todo el mundo. En la isla de Utila, las acciones de conservación se vieron particularmente afectadas por la pandemia COVID-19, que restringió la afluencia de turistas y voluntarios cuya ayuda financiera y laboral ayudan en el desarrollo de la educación ambiental, monitoreo de vida silvestre, reforestación y patrullajes de tortugas marinas. En el mes de noviembre, esto se vio agravado por la ocurrencia de los huracanes Eta e Iota, categorías 4 y 5 respectivamente.

Aunque las Islas de la Bahía no se vieron afectadas directamente por los fuertes vientos, la tierra firme sí sufrió graves daños, lo que alejó a miles de personas de sus hogares. Según la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, solo en Honduras hay 1,8 millones afectados por ambos huracanes, con una estimación de 88.000 mil hombres, mujeres y niños reubicados en albergues temporales. Además, tanto el COVID-19 como los huracanes han puesto a especies en peligro de extinción, como iguanas, agutíes y tortugas marinas, en mayor riesgo de caza furtiva, comercio ilegal y persecución. Según un informe publicado en la prestigiosa revista científica Nature en junio de este año, las tragedias mencionadas anteriormente representan un gran obstáculo para las acciones de conservación y una gran amenaza para la vida silvestre. Las crecientes dificultades económicas pueden forzar una mayor explotación de la naturaleza, lo que lleva a muchas personas a recurrir a la caza furtiva y al comercio ilegal de especies, así como a la deforestación de bosques de los delicados manglares para obtener madera.

Es por eso que la Fundación Islas De La Bahía y la Iguana Research & Breeding Station han lanzado esta campaña del Fondo de Ayuda para la Estación de Iguana en Utila. Con su ayuda, planeamos continuar con la recopilación de datos y la educación ambiental siguiendo las normas de bioseguridad y el distanciamiento social. Con sus donaciones, ayudaremos a las comunidades locales mediante la contratación de paratécnicos que nos ayuden en colección de datos, compra de materiales de bioseguridad y también promoveremos el emprendedurismo sostenible a través de un capital semilla para ayudar a la comunidad a salir adelante sin comprometer la salud de la flora y fauna de la isla.

Así que por favor has tu donativo ya a paypal@utila-iguana.de. ¡Estaremos eternamente agradecidos contigo!

Los Manglares en Utila

El 26 de julio se celebra el Día Internacional de la defensa del Ecosistema Manglar.

Día a día existen organizaciones que impulsan la conciencia ambiental para el cuidado y protección de este ecosistema. La destrucción de manglares no solo afecta a la naturaleza, también a los asentamientos humanos que se encuentran en zonas aledañas a este tipo de ecosistema.

Los manglares sirven de barrera natural para evitar estragos como tsunamis, huracanes y otros ocasionados por el cambio climático.

Importancia de los manglares.

Los manglares son uno de los ecosistemas más importantes dentro de la naturaleza debido a:

  • Su papel en el mantenimiento de la biodiversidad.
  • Retención de nutrientes.
  • Regulación del clima.
  • Preservación de la calidad del agua.
  • Protección natural de entornos costeros.

Conoce más sobre los Manglares en estos afiches informativos.

Importancia de los manglares
Ciclo de Vida

Donation

Bay Islands Foundation appreciates the collaboration of Fauna and Flora International and the partners from the Marine Landscape project (FUCSA, Honduras Coral Reef Fund, LARECOTURH, CEM) in the management and donation of food, to contribute to food security in the COVID-19 crisis for 16 families from Utila. 

The support of the FIB staff, Demetrius Williams and Jerry Bodden was elementary to transport and deliver the donation to members of the group of exchangers, women artisans and hunters.

Here, some of the members from the groups receiving their donation.

Pumpkin Hill Beach Clean Up

Pumpkin Hill became the point of focus. Monthly beach cleanings were started this year with a problem, more plastic was found than normal on Pumpkin Hill beach, one more concern for Utila.

The problem of plastic in Utila arises from the amount of marine life that is being affected. Diving centers report large amounts of plastic within the sea every month and it is killing hundreds of marine animals in the sector.  This time, staff members and two volunteers from Bay Islands Foundation were the ones who helped clean Pumpkin Hill Beach in January. Providing the opportunity for marine life to start a year with a beach cleanse that allows them to reduce the chances of being harmed.

Our job is to protect the environment, let´s try to reduse plastic.

Red mangrove! Collecting and planting seeds

Utila is the third largest island in Honduras that consists of two-thirds of plains, occupied by wetlands, where swamps and mangroves dominate. These wetlands are particularly interesting for their highly diversified mosaic organization and original plant associations. (Bak & Claude, 2002). With the exception of its eastern, volcanic, and narrow sandy or rocky strip, on the island of Utila (4,219.7 ha) the sensu stricto mangroves represent about 1,566 ha for a total of 2990 ha of maritime marshes. (Legibre, 2001).

In addition to all the benefits that mangroves provide to coastal areas, in Utila in particular, it represents a factor of decreasing vulnerability to climate phenomena that occur every year in the region, such as hurricanes and storms tropical, as it acts as a protective barrier against these events. It is also necessary to indicate that the conservation of mangrove areas in Utila is of paramount importance, by the fact of the existence of endemic species, such as reptiles such as the Iguana of Utila Ctenosaura bakeri, birds such as the chachalaca Ortalis vetula, and possibly also fish.

Red mangrove seeds.

However, the mangroves around the city of Utila have suffered an impact, due to the growth of tourism that is mainly causing the urban expansion that occurs on the island. Given these impacts, Bahia Islands Foundation has done hard work for two days together with a group of young people called Eco-leaders of Utila, in which they have collected 2,500 red mangrove seedlings during a tour of the mangrove canal and then go to the task of plant each at the Turtle Harbour Wildlife Refuge. The planting of these seedlings was by direct planting, a new and viable way so that they cannot be lost. This is a form implemented in Guatemala and that was made as an alternative to other options that have failed in previous years.

Collecting seeds through the channel.
Eco-leaders being part of the planting

Ctenosaura bakeri monitoring

The Bay Islands Marine Park, located in Utila in the Bay Islands department and is characterized by having an immense amount of reefs, marine biodiversity, is also characterized by being covered with mangrove forest with wetlands that develop in salt water or freshwater and endemic species among the most important is the black iguana (Stephen et al., 2009). The black iguana (Ctenosaura Bakeri), is one of the endemic species of Utila, this species lives only in the mangrove, which covers 8 to 10 km2 (25%) of the totality of the island. This iguana has been affected as in previous years it was considered as one of the species with low population, this due to the strong illegal hunting and the destruction of its habitat.

The Bay Islands Foundation through Iguana Station project has taken as part of its research programs to monitor the black iguana (Ctenosaura Bakeri) and reproduction of this species that is done within the station with breeding in captivity, this in order to protect, conserve and increase the population of this species and in the same way prevent it from dying over time. On the other hand, make awareness to the inhabitants of the island the importance of this species and the value it has to protect the fauna of Utila.

To make this work a success it is necessary to monitor the population distribution of this type of iguana by doing monthly tours to three points of the areas: Western Path (WP), Oyster Bed (OB) and Big Bight (BB), where their ecosystem or habitat are being altered, either by economic interests as well as for their own benefit. This research focuses on the collection of data taken in each established area, so monthly monitoring is performed in each assigned region and the comparison and analysis of the results. The format details the metric morphic data for each iguana that is captured: body mass (BM), snout length to sewer (SVL) and the length of the sewer to tail tip (TL); it also notes the height (in the mangrove or tree) they were in, the start time and the end of the monitoring.

Eco-leaders as volunteers in the monitoring.
Supervising each species.
Successful monitoring, wonderful job.

Beaches clean up

Utila is one of the three main islands of the bay island department in Honduras. This island is recognized as a sanctuary for marine life, in addition, to be declared as the best place to practice diving due to the environmental balance with which the island has.  Marine life on the island is being affected by a poorly called plastic caused by the low importance of people in caring for the environment. Utila is an island that works hard for the care of its flora, fauna and habitats among which the beaches are located. Remembering that it is visited during seasons by turtles, dolphins, whale shark among other marine animals that may be affected by plastics and other garbage.

In the face of this concern different organizations, volunteers, dive centers and the community in general develop beach clean-up frequently and thus help this island be considered pro-environmental care.

As an organization, Bay Islands Foundation through FFI funding, it conducts daily clean-up campaigns on three of Utila’s most important beaches, Chepe´s Beach, Pumpkin Hill Beach and Neptunes Beach. During each beach clean-up, volunteers are invited to share the cleaning, material collection experience and other, so they can see the damage done at each location. In September the cleaning of the aforementioned beaches began, this time with the participation of two staff members and three interns.

Pumpkin Hill Beach
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