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IUCN World Conservation Congress participants visit Makauwahi Cave Reserve

December 13, 2016

IUCN-Wolrd Conservation Conference at Makauwahi

Attendees of the IUCN-Wolrd Conservation Conference on a tour of Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Several participants from the IUCN-World Conservation Congress, held in Honolulu in September and attended by over 10,000 scientists and conservationists from 192 countries, also visited Makauwahi Cave Reserve afterwards. We offered a daylong tour as part of the Kaua`i Conservation Expo and Expeditions, sponsored by the Kaua`i Conservation Alliance, Kaua`i Visitors Bureau/County of Kaua`i, and National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Another day, we also had a less formal visit from some friends from four decades ago, Dr. Mark Stanley Price of Oxford University, England, and his family. Lida and I know Mark from our earliest days in Kenya, back around 1977. Mark is an expert on antelopes, and is perhaps best-known for his work with successful “rewilding” of the Arabian oryx, a big beautiful antelope that was extinct in the wild but had survived in private collections and zoos. In the days before their visit to the cave, I had participated with Mark in a roundtable discussion, one of the myriad “Knowledge Café” offerings at the WCC in Honolulu. Our theme, as you might guess, was “Re-wilding: What is it and why is it important?” He was very interested in seeing our work using big tortoises to control invasive weeds, and sheep to weed our traditional Hawaiian lo`i and restored wetlands.

Lida, Billie Dawson, and I also hosted a booth at NTBG after the WCC, displaying some of the larger artifacts and fossils from the cave excavations in years past.
A few weeks before, Lida and I attended the Island Biology 2016 symposium in Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal. We presented a poster on MCR and gave slide presentations on the cave’s troglobionts (blind cave organisms) and another on research we are currently doing in Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands. This conference hosted over 400 scientists working on all aspects of islands, from 46 countries.

By David Burney

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