The authors of an upcoming book documenting the wildlife of St. Eustatius hit the ground running with an initial field research session that took them around the island, documenting creatures great and small. Co-authors Hannah Madden and Mark Yokoyama documented several hundred animal species, photographing them for inclusion in the first book about the wildlife of the island.
The six-day field session in December took the team from Boven to The Quill, Zeelandia to Oranje Bay and most places in between. Strange discoveries included a pseudoscorpion many times larger than those seen on the island before (although still harmless and less than one centimeter long) and a caterpillar with a face on its posterior to ward off predators.
“The goal of the first session was to document diversity in many locations and identify areas for more detailed study in the coming months,” explains Mark Yokoyama, author of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin. “Of course, it was also a wonderful opportunity to experience the natural beauty and warm hospitality of Statia.”
Over the coming months, additional work will be done in the field, documenting and observing additional wildlife. Identifying and researching the biology of the wildlife will also be a large part of the project. Research into the history of wildlife on the island, as well as local names and cultural associations is a third key component for the final book.
“We are very excited about this book and its potential as an educational resource, a promotional tool for ecotourism and an enjoyable read for anyone interested in Statia,” says Hannah Madden, Terrestrial Areas Manager for St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA). “It’s a wonderful way to share an aspect of the island that I love.”
The book project is managed by the non-profit association Les Fruits de Mer, with funding from NuStar Terminals, N.V. and support from the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation, STENAPA and the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI). To learn more about the project and follow its progress, visit www.statiawildlife.com.