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Bugs on the Brink

Back in Blighty, what's next?

Now back in the UK after another three days on the Royal Mail Ship and then three days waiting for the connecting flight from Ascension to the UK, I have had time to reflect on the last few weeks.

Having the chance to visit St Helena has really made me understand the highs and lows of international conservation work and how our project complements work on the ground over there.

Without a doubt conservation work on St Helena is tough and it is difficult to appreciate this without seeing it first hand. There are so many priorities and not enough people-power o


Spiky yellow blog

I was lucky enough to catch up with a Spiky yellow woodlouse (Pseudolaureola atlantica) whilst on St Helena. This crazy isopod looks more like a toy than a real species, but seeing them was a real treat as it is one of the world’s rarest creatures.

Spikies are highly endangered – only found on St Helena and nowhere else in the world, they are restricted to very specific areas of habitat. Until recently, the total population size was thought to be about 50 but then a


First impressions

A key aim of this project is sustainability, the Bugs on the Brink work has been specifically designed to increase long term invertebrate conservation work on St Helena. Part of my role out here is to ensure that the project is still fit for purpose and complements the other work being carried out on St Helena.

Alice Farr (Bugs on the Brink Project Manager) and Liza White on the way back from surveying at Rupert’s Valley © D Pryce


St Helena –Buglife's work on the ground

For my first few days on St Helena, visiting the Bugs on the Brink project, the weather has been a bit wet and rainy, which is a bit damper than expected but it did make it like being at home. David Pryce, our Invertebrate Project Officer based on the Island, took me out to start showing some of the island and hot spots for bugs.

First stop was the George Benjamin Arboretum, a far from natural habitat but a useful showcase of some of the islands upland endemic plants (thes


Operation Land crab

A hardworking and, in my opinion, very cute animal spotted whilst I’ve been on Ascension Island is the Land crab (Johngarthia lagostoma), which spends much of its time inland in the island’s mountainous areas.

Here the climate is cooler and more humid than at the coast, where it is baking hot, dry and barren. However the crabs still need the sea to breed and every year they make an incredible journey from the mountains to the coast to spawn – this can be a rather hairy descent of several kilometres and over 800 metres.

Ascension Is


An island of contrasting sides

One option to get to St Helena is to fly to Ascension Island and then pick up the RMS St Helena to get to Jamestown in St Helena. Landing at Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island at 6am, I am far from alert after an overnight flight, but still excited to see what lay ahead.

I soon noticed that there are two distinct sides to the Island – one a beautiful, rugged coastline with some superb wildlife and the other, a brutally functional, human influenced landscape. Large military bases dominate the island along with telecommunication equipment and a now defunct N


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