Geography of Trinidad
Trinidad is the most southerly island of the archipelago. As it used to be part of the south american mainland it has many similarities in its geography. As on the mainland, Trinidad has distinct mountain ranges that transverse the northern range. There are two peaks; El Cerro del Aripo (940m) and El Tucuche (936m). The northern mountainous range is a strict contrast to the central range which is low-lying with swampy areas rising into rolling hills. The southern range is similar with rolling hills not surpassing 305m. It now lies 11 km off the coast of Venezuela. Trinidad is smaller than Scotland covering an area of 4,828 sq/km. The island is 60 km long with an average width of 50 km.
Wildlife on Trinidad
Trinidad’s flora and fauna reflects the ecology of mainland South America. It’s closeness and past connection to it has resulted in the island having a high species to area ratio. The diversity in the geography of the island has provided many niches for it’s wildlife to fill. For example, there is huge diversity in it’s forest types that include; tropical and semi-deciduous rainforest, littoral and deciduous woodland and swamp and mangrove forests. There are many species on Trinidad with 433 birds, 100 mammals, 40 snakes, 25 lizard and 30 amphibian species. Trinidad has many amazing sites and animals such as the bat caves of Mount Tamana, sightless fish, the fishing bat and a unique golden tree frog found on the summit of El Tucuche, just to name a few.
Threats to Biodiversity
To help us in our research and help us to teach young people about the importance of looking after the tropical rainforest ecosystem, the Trinidad team are working with a number of organisations. From scientific research to education work, the Trinidad team have formed partnerships with:
Located just outside Glasgow, Amazonia is a unique place for fun and learning for everyone. The zoo is themed on the Amazon rainforest and is home to over 70 different tropical species including monkeys, parrots, snakes and butterflies. Our team have worked with the zoo to help teach budding young explorers about Trinidad’s rainforest fauna. During the Easter holidays the Trinidad team took part in the Young Explorers Club helping the kids to identify calls of the wild and teaching them about the different species of animal that live in Trinidad. At the weekends members of the team got carried away with Caribbean conservation getting the kids involved in arts and crafts and other interactive activities at our dedicated stall in the zoo. In the upcoming weeks we will be participating in the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (BIAZA) Love Your Zoo week.
Trinibats is an non-governmental organisation, which was founded in 2010. It is dedicated to the research and conservation of the 68 bat species which inhabit the island of Trinidad. For the past two years, the Trinidad Expedition has carried out bat ecology work, working closely alongside Trinibats to explore cave systems and conduct surveys.
Check out their website: www.trinibats.com and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Trinibats
Turtle Village Trust
The Turtle Village Trust (TVT) is an NGO formed in 2006 as a collaboration between five community groups and BHP Billiton Trinidad & Tobago (Nature Seekers, Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group, Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association, and SOS Tobago and the M2M Network). TVT is dedicated to fostering partnerships between community groups, corporate entities and government in a bid to establish Trinidad & Tobago as the premiere turtle watching destination. Their main goals are to ensure the protection of the environment, with specific emphasis on marine turtles, and to inspire the natural potential of the people by increasing their capacity to generate sustainable livelihood through successful entrepreneurship.
The Glasgow University Trinidad Expedition has worked with TVT for the past two years, building a relationship with the local community employed by TVT. Our team will continue the work that has already taken place, helping to clear debris from the shore to allow the turtles to nest easily and for the hatchlings to have a clear path to the sea amongst other things.