One species hiding another

An endemic sapotaceous tree Calvaria major found on the island of Mauritius is nearly extinct because its seeds apparently required passage through the digestive tract of the now-extinct dodo Raphus cucullatus…’’

Temple, 1977

If Temple’s fairy tale was true, we should at present have coffins ready for the remaining ca 1000 trees of Calvaria major (Now Sideroxylum grandiflorum). But except for some outdated textbooks it is now widely recognized that there was no obligate mutualism between the dodo (below) and S.grandiflorum which turns out to be more threatened by invasive species. Yet though there was no evidence for this theory, it acquired quite some fame. Why? Maybe because of the aura already associated with the dodo or simply because species interactions are mysterious enough to trigger our imaginations.

Continue reading “One species hiding another”


Meet one of the world’s rarest snake

The first threatened species to be featured on the blog is the Round island boa also known as the Round island keel-scaled boa (Casarea dussumerii). It is the only member in its genus and one of the rarest snakes in the world.  Endemic to Mauritius (Indian Ocean), it used to occur on the main island and some offshore islets. However past habitat loss and introduction of invasive species have restricted its population to a single 215 ha islet, Round Island, found off the northern coast.

Round Island, the only place where the boa is found (and also a pandora’s box for herpetologists)

Continue reading “Meet one of the world’s rarest snake”

TBA field course: The video

Some of you may already have seen the new video on the TBA field course. We all probably learned a lot during the course, no matter which location we were. You can also have a look at it here and live the memories again.

Also with this first video on the blog, we wish to share more videos linked to the environmental world. So you are welcome to share your own personal videos or one you may have found on the web (Email address: ).


Animal welfare v/s Animal conservation

If you picture a football match between supporters of the animal welfare cause and conservationists, some participants probably wouldn’t be sure which team to play for. There is no doubt that while the two disciplines share common supporters and sometimes work hand in hand for a common cause, their goals may be contradictory as well. But does the public actually make a distinction between the two ?

If  you are working in the conservation field you have probably been asked about a specific individual animal that is ill-treated and you were expected to have all the answers to save it. But we conservation biologists often don’t and unfortunately we sometimes have to excuse ourselves for having little knowledge in a field that is not ours.Though sometimes entertaining this kind of confusion can be problematic. Continue reading “Animal welfare v/s Animal conservation”

View from the other side

The idea of this blog was conceived during a TBA workshop in 2011 on ecosystem services. So it just naturally follows that the first post remains in this field.

Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

American Indian Proverb.

Now how did I go from ecosystem services to American Indian tribes?In our field we hear about destructive practices by communities and may see it with our own eyes. Yet we know little until we get to meet these communities and make the effort to understand the why. All this knowledge and new ideas we are exposed to ,doesn’t it just remain ink on paper or pixels on our screen? Until applied and put into practice. There’s nothing like real-life experience for gaining new insights in conservation issues and allowing you to see things from a different angle. Continue reading “View from the other side”