By Franca Restivo – 2 week volunteer
Bio Hikes are done at least once a week. They are completed by the KSES staff and the volunteers. On this hike it is all about the insects, plants and flowers. It is necessary to keep an eye on the area where the elephants have been before and how its surroundings developed in regards to the species. Elephants are the gardeners of the forest. With their presence and their work that has been done, the environment changes.
On the way to the actual spot we discovered different kinds of fire flies, butterflies and spiders. All of the insects were different sizes and colors. Purple and white flowers were found and also many bushes which provided a rich amount of berries.
When we finally reached the top we separated into little groups to observe the area. We were standing 1 meter apart in a row as we entered the area so that a specific spot was covered to be inspected. A watching pattern was created. The first 4 people were looking to the left, the last 3 people to the right. Then we split into groups whether we would look waist downwards or waist upwards. During a time frame of one minute with a stop watch we looked into our designated direction to observe either the ground or the trees and bushes in front of us. The observation took place while it was raining which didn’t give us the chance to see as many insects. This seemed to affect the research. We were able to find some flies, bugs, spiders and butterflies.
The discovered species are as follows:
22 Arthropoda (Spiders)On our way back we saw a centipede which was approximately 13-15 cm long. It was crawling on a rock covered in moss. Due to the rainy season a lot of leeches and snails crossed our path.
Continuing this project will help us to get a better understanding of how the development in the forest takes places due to the elephants, a key stone species.