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29 July 2011

This morning Alec Dizon and his two sons and two nieces helped check traps and process animals. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 10 years. Alec grew up on St. Croix and trapped a few mongoose when he was young but has never held a live animal. It is always fun to watch the faces of those holding an anesthetized mongoose for the first time. We captured four male mongoose and that same Siamese cat. As we were driving the Refuge road we came upon a female dog trotting down the road and about 100 meters further trap #12 with a mongoose in it was in the center of the road. The dog did not have a collar but it did not run like the wild dogs normally do on the refuge. Upon close inspection we noticed the mongoose had a bloody mouth and there was a little blood on the trap. The trap was not destroyed as in previous dog incidents and the mongoose appeared upset but not seriously injured. However, its left pupil was just a thin slit while its right pupil was the normal size. This animal is a male that was originally captured and marked on 27 July 2010. Upon release he responded normally.

This trip has been unique in that all my able-bodied assistants are elementary school students instead of college students. They certainly exhibit similar levels of enthusiasm, but their knowledge, skills, and attention span are generally less than most college students. However, maybe some of these kids will become college biology students partly as a result of their mongoose experience on St. Croix.

I have discovered that I can catch and process mongoose, albeit a little more slowly, by myself . . . but it is certainly not as much fun.

This afternoon Logan and his family headed home after what we hope was a wonderful adventure in the Caribbean. Logan will always be a welcome mongooser on my team. I spent the afternoon snorkeling in front of Cottages and spotted at least a dozen sting rays - some buried in the sand and some less concealed.

Sting ray concealed in the sand

Sting ray

This evening as I was updating this blog post I noticed a small insect on the table and upon closer inspection realized that it was a mosquito so swollen with blood it couldn't fly. Instead it hopped across that table until it met its untimely demise under my thumb at which time its stomach burst releasing its precious blood meal all over the table and my thumb.