Always Check One’s Surroundings…

Having recently returned from Tanzania; I was reminded of a situation I somehow got myself into during my first trip to Tanzania (2008) when I was just eleven. We were on safari in the Serengeti and I was in urgent need to disperse of my urine… Yes, I was in desperate need for a toilet. The nice man driving the Land rover pulled over next to a hippo pool, so I could hop out and scamper behind a bush. Now, going for a wee behind a bush is hard enough when you’re female – let alone trying it in Africa’s wilderness.. Trying to avoid all the African thorns (which for reference are fucking huge!), I went for wee. Half way through this much needed wee, I heard a loud gasp coming from the Land rover which was parked in the near distance. “Girls hurry up!! Quickly, quickly!!” Running back to the truck, still pulling up my trousers, I turned around to realise that I was peeing a few meters away from a rough 4m long crocodile!! Yup.. a flipping 500kg animal that could kill in one smooth, swing of a bite. I’ve since learnt to check my surroundings when peeing in the great outdoors.. You know, just in case there’s a pervert crocodile lurking nearby…

A Coral For Help…

I was reading a recent BBC news article earlier today about the desperate situation at Maya Beach in Thailand. A once idyllic and flourishing beach that became littered and ecologically damaged due to it being a popular tourist destination. A huge increase in tourists was subsequent to the filming at Maya Beach of the feature film ‘The Beach’ during the mid 90’s. A huge conservation effort, including a total shutdown of the beach itself and the surrounding bay, has lead to the local ecology starting to recover. Yay!

But this got me thinking… (always dangerous..)

Perhaps the Maya Beach recovery is a sign that Thailand is turning a page in its effort to preserve its precious natural resources. But for a nation so dependent on tourists and their cash, it could also just be proof of how grim a situation has to get before enforced action to help the local biodiversity. The total area experiencing coral reef damage in Thailand has increased from 30% to 77% in just one decade! Staggering.

Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist from Kasetsart University (who studied Maya Bay and the area for 40 years and was hired by the ministry to survey the environmental damage and lead the rehabilitation) blames polluted water (most often released by beachfront hotels) and plastic waste dumped into the ocean as the main causes of damage to coral reefs in this area.

mayabay2Figure.1. This satellite image shows the huge conservation efforts put in place to save Maya Beach and the wildlife that inhabits there.

Globally, coral reef health is declining at an unprecedented rate and tourism plays its part in this. So in the spirit of this article, I feel it necessary to highlight the need for better responsible tourism at vulnerable habitat spots and I cant help but feel this boils down to three key things. Education, research and of course, funding.

 

Information source and BBC news article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_beach_nobody_can_touch

A Very Happy New Year New Year to You!

Wishing all my readers a very happy and healthy New Year!

In 2018 I travelled to Iceland and Dubai. I graduated from university with a 2:1 (Hons) in Marine Biology and Oceanography and two months later moved to London from Devon and got offered a job as a project officer at the Thames Estuary Partnership. I could not be more grateful or appreciative. What a bloody year! But of course, the year had its low points too, as does everyone’s.

Welcome 2019! Fuck me. You came out of nowhere…

This is the year where I am determined to push myself further out of my comfort zone in terms of not just travel, but also life (creeping towards existential-ness’s’s’s…)

This post is unorganised, sorry.. I always feel pressure on New Years to make a load of classic New Years resolutions and what not.. But for now (following on from the existential-ness..) you will find me back in Devon, feet up by the fire with a Baileys in hand and dreading the thought of my drive back to London on Saturday, after having a cracking couple of weeks off.

Let’s make 2019 a smashing one. Time to save the planet and its precious wildlife.

Cheers en’!

The Baileys is kicking in.

Not Enough Caffeine…

That moment when you watch a program called ‘The Worlds Top Ten Deadliest Roads’… And then it dawns on you that you’ve driven down 6 of them..

I’m determined to go on another life changing, dramatic, all about survival adventure soon, and not in a cheesy metaphorical way. Hand me some flint and a kagoule. Thats not a good image, is it…

Two Scientists Walk in Into a Museum…

I know it’s not exactly London wildlife…. but they’re still in London? Aye?…. AYE??

The London Natural History Museum is truly a wonder. The feeling I get when walking through the doors is the same feeling a five year old gets on Christmas morning.. Pure excitement. If you haven’t been – do pay a visit. I visited today with a good friend from university and we had a ball. The pickled specimen section is my favourite. Ew.

As a scientist, visiting the NHM just makes me ask so many questions about the natural world. Why did birds evolve feathers? Why are so many butterflies brightly coloured?… It goes on and on… I’ll stop now. You’re welcome.

I also learned that a blue whale weighs 2027 times my body weight! Because I needed to know that…

Here are some smartly dressed butterflies for you… Pleasure..