Saturday, November 18, 2017

Environment

Caribbean: Conservation Thrives on BVI's Beautiful Guana Island

A private island paradise in the British Virgin Islands, Guana Island has pursued a policy of saving rare species and preserving its natural splendor.

(Image Copyright F. Vladi)

Guana Island’s sprawling 850 acres are covered in a lush, brilliantly green forest that coats its rolling hills and mountainous peaks. Along the coast, blue Caribbean waves lap at seven gleaming white beaches. Little evidence shows any sign of human habitation; in fact, the majority of the island is a nature preserve.

However, Guana Island is also home to a charming resort designed to appeal to nature-lovers from around the world, hosting just 30 guests at a time. This devotion to the environment is shown in the island’s very motto: “Discover Guana Island….the Virgin Island that still is.”

In Guana Island’s December 2011 newsletter, they had many interesting updates to make; there was the announcement of the island’s new manager couple, Matteo Mancini and Hanna Garske, who formerly worked at a prestigious Maldives resort. It’s the local wildlife, however, that stole the show in the 2011 recap. Showing Guana’s commitment to conservation, the resort is home to a number of marine scientists who painstaking restore habitats and ensure the health of the island’s vibrant ecosystem.

Truly a special place, scientists say that Guana has more flora and fauna than any other similarly-sized island in the Caribbean, and perhaps even the world. It is home to a restoration program that has brought back to the island formerly lost species like the Stout Iguana, a large endangered lizard that once only survived in small numbers on the BVI’s Anegada Island, but now roams Guana in numbers over 1,000. Other important residents include a plethora of tropical birds, turtles, and a vast array of indigenous flowers, fruit plants, and trees.

(Image from Vladi Private Islands)

Of the health of the island’s ecosystem, Guana noted in their recent newsletter;

“As for the Island itself, it has never been more beautiful and green. The salt pond remains a healthy and picturesque home for our small flock of indigenous Caribbean roseate flamingos. They were joined a few months ago by a gorgeous Scarlet Ibis who landed on the pond one day and seems to have chosen to stay. She is not indigenous to the BVI, but though she doesn’t really belong on Guana, the flamingos have made her welcome. And so have we.”

The newsletter also reports that in the island’s organic, pesticide-free orchard, a team of scientists, headed by Dr. Liao, have tended to the growth of papaya, cashew, lime, and other Caribbean trees, and planted a variety of new ones. Scientists are busy making the waters surrounding Guana hospitable for wildlife, too; with Dr. Lianna Jarecki at the helm, a project to restore damaged coral reefs has pioneered a successful grafting technique. All around the island, many busy hands are making sure that Guana Island is more beautiful each year, and will thrill a new crop of visitors in 2012!

Learn more about Guana Island: Vladi Private Islands

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