Threatened Caribbean iguana born in Rotterdam zoo


This 8 September 2020 video from Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam in the Netherlands says about itself, translated:

A highly endangered lesser Antillean iguana has hatched in Blijdorp Zoo, a memorable moment for the international breeding program in which Blijdorp plays an important role. On May 15, 2018, four young lesser Antillean iguanas came to Rotterdam from St. Eustatius island: two females and two males. … And now, more than two years later, the first young lizard has been born.

The youngster is about 25 centimeter long.

Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius island


This video says about itself:

24 September 2015

The “Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat” is a species of funnel-eared bat found on the island of Hispaniola. First described in 1902, it has a complex taxonomic history, with some authors identifying multiple subspecies, now recognised as the separate species “Natalus primus” and “Natalus jamaicensis”, and others considering “Natalus major” to be itself a subspecies of “Natalus stramineus“. It lives primarily in caves and feeds on insects.

The Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat was first described scientifically in 1902 by Gerrit Miller as “Natulus major”. The holotype was the skin and skull of a male preserved in alcohol, which was collected “near Savanata”, presumed to mean Sabaneta. The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat, described in 1919, has been considered a subspecies of “N. major”: “N. major primus”, but is now recognised as a different species by the IUCN. Similarly, “N. major jamaicensis”, described in 1959, is now recognised as a distinct species: “Natalus jamaicensis”. Previous reports of “Natalus” on the island had also been referred considered “Natulus major”.

The genus “Natalus” was traditionally placed into three subgenera: “Natalus”, “Chilonatalus” and “Nyctielleus”. Within this taxonomy, the “N. major” was placed in the subgenus “Natalus”, along with the genus’s type species the “N. stramineus” and “N. tumidirostris”. However, morphological analyses in the 2000s supported promoting the subgenera to generic status. The genus is characterised by the large, bell-shaped and face-covering natalid organ, by features of the ears and by osteological differences between it and its relatives. “N. major” can be distinguished from other members of its genus by its larger size and differing distribution. However, some authors have argued that the “N. major” should be considered conspecific with the “N. stramineus”, and conservative estimations that some or all Natalidae species were in fact forms of “N. stramineus” were common. Recent studies which have included “N. major” within “N. stramineus” include those by Hugh Genoways and colleagues, supported by a later paper which claimed that there were no “structural” differences between the populations. A 2005 study conducted by Adrian Tejedor and colleagues concluded the three populations of “Natalus” were distinct to a degree that they should be considered separate species, and so the author offered new descriptions of the three.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal society:

Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Sleep in a hammock in the crater of a dormant volcano, seven liters of water per person on your back, a box of research materials, nets and poles, getting them up the volcano at 35 degrees Celsius: it has not been in vain. On the edge of the crater of the volcano The Quill on St Eustatius the Lesser Antillean long-tongued bat was captured, a species so far unknown for the island. And as the icing on the cake the next morning the Mexican funnel-eared bat, also new to the island, flew around the hammock. Sil Westra, Wesley Overman and Ellen Norren report about their bat research as part of the expedition led by Naturalis museum.

Eighty new wildlife species discovered on Caribbean island


This 12 July 2015 video is called St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (marine park).

Translated from Naturalis museum in the Netherlands:

Monday, October 26th, 2015

During a two-week expedition to the Caribbean Dutch island of St. Eustatius this month, at least eighty new species of animals and plants have been discovered. These include beetles, flies, bees, snails, plants and even a bat and four birds. The species had been known from islands elsewhere in the Caribbean, but not from St. Eustatius. However, the researchers do not exclude that some species may be new to the Caribbean or even to science. …

The researchers found during the expedition new species in unexpected places. For example, they discovered in an abandoned pool some water beetles and a pondskater. In an ancient cistern duckweed was floating, a carcass of a cow contained hide beetles, from various places on the island came new snail species, and during a night with mist nets in the volcano The Quill (“pit”), a new bat was caught. Many of these specimens need to be investigated further at Naturalis in order to get their proper names.

At various plots more than 250 traps were set to catch insects and other invertebrates. The proceeds of this catch will be investigated later with the help of DNA techniques, meaning that the number of 80 new species is expected to rise further.

Paleontologists report they have clear evidence that the arrival of humans and subsequent human activity throughout the islands of the Caribbean were likely the primary causes of the extinction of native mammal species there. The evidence, they say, highlights the need for urgent human intervention to protect the native mammal species still inhabiting the region: here.

Mammal, reptile research on Caribbean Sint Eustatius island


This 25 August 2016 video says about itself:

After deploying the satellite transmitter this green turtle is released in the northern marine reserve of St. Eustatius.

Another video used to say about itself:

Green Turtle Tracking. St. Eustatius

12 May 2012

This program is brought to you by GEBE and the Barson Foundation.

Working together with St. Eustatius Stenapa to protect and study the movements of Green Turtles at Zeelandia Beach. Satellite device attached in order to track the almost extinct Green Turtle population.

The Dutch mammal society reports today there will be new research about mammals of Sint Eustatius island in the Caribbean. Much is still unknown about this.

The researchers hope to find out which bat species live on the island. Some bats will be provided with transmitters to find out more about their lives.

As far as people know, there are no native rodent species on Sint Eustatius. The researchers hope to find out which exotic rat and mice species, brought by ships, live here. Camera traps will also try to record other introduced species, like goats and mongoose.

The research will be from 2 October-18 October.

Conservation of the herpetofauna on the Dutch Windward Islands: St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten: here.

Lesser Antillean iguana research on St Eustatius island


This video shows a Lesser Antillean iguana, on Ilet Chancel – Martinique, in the Caribbean.

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Population research on the endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius is in full swing. From April to June, 60% of the island was scoured and 212 iguanas were observed, of which 160 animals are now individually identified and participate in scientific research. This research is an important part of the conservation plan which was launched in September 2014 by St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) and RAVON.

Sint Eustatius island wildlife, new research


This video from the Caribbean is called Welcome to St Eustatius.

From Naturalis in the Netherlands today (translated):

In recent weeks, a team of researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Anemoon Foundation have mapped the biodiversity of St. Eustatius island. Both above water and underwater. During the research numerous rare species and even some new species were discovered. Sneak preview: one of the special species is a wonderful Fingerprint Cyphoma. That’s a sea snail.

One of the researchers’ blog posts mentions the discovery of

several [fish species] that have not yet been reported in the Lesser Antilles, such as Chaenopsis resh (the resh pikeblenny).

This video is about, especially underwater, wildlife on and around Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius islands.

Protecting Caribbean tropicbirds


This video from Australia is called Twitching Red-billed Tropicbird on Lord Howe Island.

By Hannah Madden, of the St. Eustatius National Park foundation in the Caribbean:

In January 2013 the St. Eustatius National Park foundation (STENAPA) started a seabird monitoring project, thanks largely to a small grant by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Seabirds (SCSCB), which emphasises on Red-billed Tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus). The project is managed by National Park Ranger Hannah Madden and intern Andrew Ellis, with the weekly assistance of two dedicated high school students. The aim is to assess the risk of predation on tropicbirds and establish the nesting success of this species. This involves visiting three nesting sites per week to measure and weigh chicks, as well as banding adults and chicks as part of a long-term research project.

A Red-billed Tropicbird monitoring workshop in 2011 run by conservation ecologist, and DCNA scientific advisor, Dr. Adrian Delnevo, found no breeding success for the Red-billed Tropicbird at several nesting colonies on Saba. Cameras set up outside nests captured photos of predating feral cats. The skills learned during the 2011 workshop have since then been applied to monitor this species on Saba and St. Eustatius. This combined with other information will be used to develop a coordinated conservation strategy for the Red-billed Tropicbird.

Given that Saba and St. Eustatius are home to the Caribbean’s largest nesting population of Red-billed Tropicbirds, STENAPA deemed it necessary to determine the risk of predation on St. Eustatius’ own Red-billed Tropicbirds. DCNA loaned STENAPA two cameras, which have been strategically placed outside active nests containing a young chick. Within just a few days one of the cameras photographed a cat outside one of the nests. It is too early to say whether the tropicbirds on St. Eustatius face the same risk of predation as those on Saba; data is still being collected and the results of this six-month study will be available in June. If predation rates prove to be high, STENAPA will take steps to control the feral cat population by working with the animal welfare foundation to sterilise/neuter or euthanise the animals. As well as cats, it is believed that rats may also play an important role in predation; live traps will be set up at nesting sites in an attempt to confirm this. It is hoped that the long hours and hard work invested in this project will bring interesting and encouraging results for the only species of seabird known to nest on St. Eustatius.

Besides monitoring tropicbirds, the project also aims to confirm the presence of Audubon’s Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri, NL Audubons pijlstormvogel). This is a nocturnal seabird that is thought to nest in the cliffs of the northern hills of St. Eustatius, but its presence has long since been [un]confirmed. In order to determine its presence now, the team will have to go out at night with a playback device and play the call of the bird repeatedly to lure them into answering the recording, since Shearwaters tend to be most active around midnight.

For more information: read the article Conservation Science: Red-billed Tropicbirds on Saba and St. Eustatius.

Saba and St. Eustatius are home to the Caribbean’s largest nesting population of Red-billed Tropicbirds and may host the most significant breeding colonies in the world. After a workshop in 2011, a monitoring programme was launched in which very poor breeding success for several Red-billed Tropicbird colonies on Saba was discovered. In an attempt to find out the cause of the lack of recruitment, it turned out that predation by feral domestic cats (Felis catus) was the reason and to date this remains a major threat to nesting colonies of the Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) on Saba. Cats and rats both pose a potential threat to the survival of Saban tropicbirds: here.