Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 36 of 83 | 37 nesting colonies on the east side of Warderick Wells Cay, Shroud Cay and, to a lesser extent, on Little Bell Island. Additionally, all of the breeding terns of The Bahamas have been identified within the park, including the gull-billed, roseate, sooty, bridled, least and royal tern. Pelicans, cormorants and frigatebirds are also present within the park but are not known to nest. The Hutia: An endangered species with a big appetite The endemic Bahamas hutia is the only native terrestrial mammal in The Bahamas. It is a nocturnal rodent about the size of a cat. Hutias were thought to be extinct in The Bahamas until a small population was discovered in 1966 on East Plana Cay in the Southern Bahamas. In an effort to prevent the population from being wiped out by natural or unnatural threats, hutias were introduced to two cays in the ECLSP. In January 1973, 11 hutias were introduced onto Little Wax Cay in the north of the park. Warderick Wells was the site of the second translocation in March 1981, when several hutias were placed there. The hutia on Little Wax Cay had a destructive effect on the vegetation on the cay. Hutias are voracious herbivores with destructive feeding practices. In April 1989, a team of scientists visited Little Wax Cay to assess the effect of hutias feeding on the cay. Following their visit, the team recorded that the vegetation there had been massively effected. Large areas were bald without a closed canopy and many of the trees and shrubs had recently died. Warderick Wells has begun to show vegetative damage and park staff are concerned that the hutia's uncontrolled population growth will result in extensive destruction to the environment. BNT is monitoring the situation and has established a special task force to review the hutia situation and develop recommendations to address this management dilemma. Cultural resources Within the boundaries of the park are two significant sets of Loyalist ruins dating back to the late 1700s. These ruins document a significant period in Bahamian history. On Warderick Wells, the ruins of the Davis Family plantation are located on the southeast side of the island. The remains are comprised of three buildings of conch shell, rock and mortar construction, and a stone wall that runs from one side of the island to the other. This wall was used to contain livestock. On Hawksbill Cay is another set of ruins with the remains of five buildings and some smaller cooking areas. On the southern border of the park is a pair of small cays called "The Rocky Dundas." On the small, flat and protected area on the southern Rocky Dundas is a fence constructed of conch shell middens. An archaeological expedition to the island sampled a small portion from the bottom of this fence and dated it back approximately 500 years. The continued and careful monitoring of wildlife populations is an aspect of park management requiring continued and sustained support. Without structured monitoring of endangered iguana and seabird populations, adaptive management decisions cannot be made for the benefit of the wildlife that the park protects. Left: A white-tailed tropicbird (locally called a 'longtail') nests in a limestone crevice. The white-tailed tropicbird does not have a yearly breeding cycle; instead, breeding frequency depends on the climate and availability of suitable breeding sites. Photo by William Mackin.

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