"I’d highly recommend a stay at Kanahau, to facilitate exploring the wonders of the island and to wholly understand their message of conservation"
Age: 23 years old
Studies Zoology with Herpetology with International Experience at Bangor University
Placement: Field assistant
Length of stay: 4 weeks
Utila is a beautiful island, with numerous undiscovered treasures and resources. Kanahau, a recently established research and conservation facility can sustainably exploit the wonders of the island to all manner of tourists, scientists, and adventurers alike, while providing some fun insights and education along the way!
Being a zoologist who specialises in herpetology, most of my time was spent surveying for the endemic critically endangered spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), in combination with opportunistic surveys elaborating on distributions and natural histories of the other native herpetofauna. Further observations of invertebrates, birds and mammals provided fascinating insight into the ecology and evolutionary history of the island, and it’s potential for research and scientific discovery. Very little literature exists on the fauna of Utila, and the Bay Islands in general, but the staff at Kanahau are making great progress to change that.
The support and logistics provided by the research facility in addition to the great scientific understanding and experience of the staff, provide the potential framework for several novel questions and experimental designs, all it takes is volunteers to ask the questions and provide the sampling effort!
Whether academic or backpacker, I’d highly recommend a stay at Kanahau, to facilitate exploring the wonders of the island and to wholly understand their message of conservation, and more widely a sustainable future for the fragile ecosystems of Utila and its inhabitants - people and animals alike!