Just four months after it was officially opened the now famous Sanctuary at Roche Caiman last Saturday hosted a delegation from the US Navy whose mission was not just a courtesy tête-à-tête over SeyTea and biscuits.
[ROCHE CAIMAN 01/09/2008] Just four months after it was officially opened the now famous Sanctuary at Roche Caiman last Saturday hosted a delegation from the US Navy whose mission was not just a courtesy tête-à-tête over SeyTea and biscuits.
Led by Commander Russell Smith the US Naval officers from the USS Momsen (DDG-92), a guided missile destroyer, visited the sanctuary and helped in invasive species control and habitat management especially in the wader scrape which attracts wading birds.
“!’m always excited to host the US military personnel, who have been keen to support the Sanctuary’s development. This was the fourth time we have hosted them here at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman, and it is indeed a positive step for conservation. We have developed an easy working relationship with them and each time they are around, they always pay us a visit.” Jon Dale, the Wetlands Manager reveals.
Ever since it was officially inaugurated in April after years of restoration works the Sanctuary has become a popular destination spot for lovers looking for quiet spots, tourists groups looking for a natural spot within the city limits, religious teams seeking for the solace granted by nature and multitudes of school groups visiting for their nature studies in the ‘outdoor classroom auditorium’. Indeed the popularity of the sanctuary has kept Nature Seychelles staff literally on their toes owing to the amount of visitors it hosts each week.
The 25 naval officers, who visited Roche Caiman, helped in management of the reed beds, which has resisted many attempts to slow down their growth. They also went further and helped dig the wader scrapes to ensure attractive habitats for birds and cleared invasive plants from the perimeter of the Sanctuary.
“As part of our community service initiative, we seek to build bridges with all the people we interact with. Being involved in the real on the ground initiatives like the wetland here in Roche Caiman is one way of engaging with communities.” Commander Russell says.
The USS Momsen is named after Vice Admiral Charles Momsen, a decorated US Naval officer who made great contribution to the Navy with his invention of the Momsen lung, an underwater escape device and his critical role in the successful rescue of personnel in a sunken submarine.
“It is indeed an honour to have top military personnel visit us and appreciate our work here at the sanctuary.” Says Dale as he acknowledges the presence of Commander Russell and his crew. Russell is third in the chain of command of the USS Momsen with the rank Command Master Chief.
“Their act is actually a symbol of approval to all Seychellois, that our conservation efforts are well known all over the world. Hosting US military personnel is not something we take for granted. If anything we highly appreciate their enthusiasm for working with us in safeguarding Seychelles environment.” Nirmal Shah, CEO of Nature Seychelles says. [ENDS]