WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU
Location: The expedition team will be arriving from the UK and USA and have the flexibility to embark and disembark through any port(s) – not Diego Garcia which is out of bounds. The intention would be to then sail to Eagle Island where the vessel would provide a working platform for the duration before heading out to a port of disembarkation.
Berths: Seven berths are required, Dr Carr as expedition leader and author of the restoration plan, a logistician from Force Blue (an organisation that will provide free manpower to deliver the restoration plan), two restoration specialists from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (one a GIS specialists, the second a mangrove specialist), two arborists and a Chagossian research assistant.
Duration/Timing: A month long expedition to collect data required to write the restoration plan are flexible in 2022 or 2023. However, experience tells us sea states and weather are calmer between the months of April and September compared the rest of the year. The calmer weather makes gaining access to islands safer and data gathering, including flying drones, easier.
Necessary Equipment: The capacity to deliver the team to the island and recover them daily is essential. A workspace for preparing botanical samples, storage space for drone equipment and recharging points for batteries are required.
Activities: Living aboard for the duration. Report writing, GIS data analysis, botanical specimen preparing and team meetings. Possibly flying drones to map islands if possible – though this can be achieved from islands.
Save Eagle Island is the Chagos Conservation Trust’s ambitious project that aims to ecologically restore the BIOT, Chagos Archipelago’s second largest island and see the return of thriving seabird populations, which recent science demonstrates can significantly contribute to the resilience building of the island’s surrounding coral reefs.
Invasive rats and abandoned coconut plantations have decimated native plants and seabird populations that should call this island home, the Save Eagle Island project will produce ecological conditions that could rectify this historic environmental catastrophe.
Seabird-driven oceanic island ecosystems – seabird islands, benefit coral reefs. Reefs are in peril from climate change as repeated bleaching events caused by rises in sea temperature have demonstrated. The nutrient enrichment provided by seabird to coral reefs is thought to build resilience in them to climate change stresses.
Year 1 of the project, 2022, will see:
This ecological roadmap will determine future conservation actions needed to restore this threatened, and globally important, habitat.
PROJECT LEADER: DR PETE CARR
Dr Carr has 25 years’ experience working and researching in the BIOT, Chagos Archipelago including living and working on Diego Garcia, where he was the Environmental Director employed by the US Military for three years after two years as the British Executive Officer on the island. He has recently completed his PhD on the archipelago’s seabirds and how they use the Marine Protected Area. Pete has taken part in over ten science expeditions to the Chagos Archipelago as a terrestrial ecologist and marine ornithologist and has organised the logistics and permits for a number of these.
He designed and led the eradication of rats from Ile Vache Marine, Peros Banhos in 2014, which was the first successful rat eradication in the archipelago and formed the basis of the Healthy Islands, Healthy Reefs programme. He is one of the few people to have landed on every island and is a passionate believer in and advocate for the rewilding of the Chagos Archipelago.
Pete is now the Chagos Conservation Trust’s, Healthy Islands, Healthy Reefs Programme Manager.