An update on the work of the St Helena National Trust

This week we share news on the latest St Helena National Trust projects.

Wirebirds on the up

The latest Wirebird census carried out by the St Helena National Trust (SHNT) is now complete, with 572 adult Wirebirds counted. This figure is 13 more than the previous year, which means the bird’s population is continuing to increase at a slow but steady rate.

Although the overall count increased, numbers of juveniles, chicks and nests decreased with only 15 juveniles, 17 chicks and 27 nests counted.  In 2015 there were 85 juveniles, 52 chicks and 55 nests. The low numbers are in part due to the drought; the area most affected by the current drought was Prosperous Bay Plain, which saw numbers decrease by 66 when compared to the previous count.

The next Wirebird census will be conducted in January 2018.

st helena wirebird

Year-long monitoring for Invertebrate Project

The Darwin Plus funded Invertebrate Project at the St Helena National Trust has just entered a new phase with the start of a year-long, island-wide invertebrate survey.

The survey is using an insect trap called a Malaise trap, 26 of which have been set up in various parts of the island. The trap itself looks a bit like a black tent and catches insects that are flying or crawling around the area.

The aim of the survey is to see how conservation work being undertaken for endemic and native plants around the island is working for their associated endemic invertebrates. Another goal of the project is to see how the relatively minor seasonal changes in temperature and rainfall also affect the invertebrate communities.

Specimens from the survey will be put into an invertebrate collection that will eventually be housed at the Museum of St Helena. This will allow the majority of species present on St Helena to be identified on-island for the first time.

Glow in the dark woodlouse

One of St Helena’s most famous endemic species, the Spiky Yellow Woodlouse, has been found to be one of only two species of woodlice to glow under ultra-violet light, The cause of the fluorescence is unknown but makes it far easier to survey the species. Until the discovery it was believed that there were as few as 50 left in existence. After a few night surveys the population has been found to be much larger.

Spiky Yellow Woodlouse st helena

New National Trust shop

St Helena National Trust is set to open a new souvenir shop selling items that reflect St Helena history and culture. The shop is due to open in the cellar of the National Trust building in time for 21 May 2017, St Helena’s Day. The initiative is being supported with funding from the Community Development Organisation and Enterprise St Helena (ESH).

For more information on the St Helena National Trust, please visit their website.

On Facebook? Follow the various pages: Saint Helena National Trust, SHNT Fields Team, SHNT Wirebird Teams, SHNT Bug Life, SHNT Spikey Yellow Woodlouse, SHNT Built Heritage and SHNT Community Forests.

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