Cambodia Marine Conservation Project – September 2012
During September we completed 27 seahorse population assessment surveys. We had 13 new volunteers certified and trained in seahorse survey methodology and seahorse identification. The volunteers have continued English lessons every day, with a variety of content covered, including music lessons. The playground work continued despite the rain with the foundations laid for the surrounding wall.
Volunteers were trained in reef check methodology as well as fish and invertebrate identification, however, a lot of wind this month prevented us from completing any surveys. Long term volunteers are looking forward to next month’s round of surveys.
A sighting of a seahorse on “Vietnamese Bay” has fuelled interest and competition as the seahorses are not usually found on the reef habitats. The search continues for seahorses in a variety of locations!
Volunteers have been trained in seahorse identification and are survey methodology ready. We have completed 27 seahorse surveys throughout September, aiming to build up a comprehensive data base of population assessments for Koh Rong Samloem. The research from 2011 has been consolidated to give volunteers an overall idea of the previous work and future directions for seahorse protection around the island.
We continue to dive in previously unexplored areas as well as looking for seahorses in different habitats. We have designed and built 5 holdfasts, consisting of concrete blocks with rebar inserted to mimic an urchin typical in seahorse habitats. These will be dropped at specific locations marked with a GPS and will be continuously monitored for seahorse habitation. These will help us to better understand seahorse territories and whether they exist. We will also be able to document whether or not the seahorses are pairing opportunistically, for a breeding season, or long term.
This season is always popular for beach cleans with a lot of wind bringing rubbish from Sihanoukville onto our beach. The volunteers have consistently been cleaning the beach and the village, making it an even more beautiful place to be.
Teaching English to the local children has been an everyday task for the volunteers this month. The children continue to be enthusiastic as do the volunteers. This month has seen music lessons, art class, body parts, sentence structure and grammar. The kids have had an exciting month with new volunteers arriving laden with school supplies. This keeps the kids happy and motivated for English class. Of course we also continue swimming lessons every week, this keeps the volunteers happy too!
Laying the foundations for a brick wall surrounding the playground has motivated volunteers. Turns out we have a few gifted builders among the volunteers. Volunteers have been super productive in creating this area for the children where they can play in a safe and clean environment. We have continued our efforts despite the rain and we hope to complete the wall and the roof next month.
Project Coordinator, Cambodia