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martes, 22 de mayo de 2012

Newly documented behaviour in the bedroom and buckets of poo!

Several months ago I was delighted to catch a Monodelphis kunsi in one of my pitfall trap lines. This species of opossum was a significant find as it was only the 4th record in Paraguay and the 11th in the world. A week ago not one but two more appeared in the traps. As there is so little known about this species we are currently studying some of their behaviours. So after going to great lengths to make them both large and comfortable enclosures (next to my bed no less), the first thing I was able to establish was just how good the male was at escaping! Despite my best efforts he has escaped twice and is currently AWOL. However as he didn’t get far last time I am hopeful he will reappear in a couple of days, keep your fingers crossed for me guys. My female, Delilah, however is a wonderful study animal and is giving me lots of great data on the diet of this species. I’ll keep you posted as to how I get on with this one. The M. kunsi aren’t the only arrivals we have had at the reserve, last week we were delighted to welcome Scott Felgner and Sabrina White (apologies for that extremely tenuous link there!). Scott is planning a 4 month stay with us and will be going out with Jonny and the primate team to help with the habituation of our group of capuchins. Sabrina is studying entomology (insects) and has some rather interesting means of capturing beetles. So it seems that beetles aren’t called dung beetles for nothing. And horse manure really isn’t getting the results she needed. So with 12 volunteers in the house and there being a global water shortage… well yes you guessed it, human poo really is the best bait to use! Thank you very much to all the boys in the house who have donated so far, the girls have been a little less forthcoming! And finally from human waste to compost and the garden as a whole actually. I am delighted to report that things are really going on in there. The tomatoes have gone crazy and are fruiting wonderfully, we have picked our first crop of green peppers and the chillis have turned into a delightful red (but aren’t very hot by anyone’s standards!). We also have a squash dominating a whole vegetable patch and the passion fruit are finally beginning to flower. Thank you also to Maria and Sabrina for helping me dig some soil from the forest for my new raised bed and to Dec and Rich for getting it out of the car and into the garden. I am really looking forward to seeing what will grow in there! Right that’s me for another fortnight; I’m off to pick some tomatoes. Chauuuuuuuuuu Helen

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