What a complex project: Shoco nests’ relocation!

Arikok National Park is now an energized entity with a super-qualified new General Manager, Natasha Silva, and a brand new crew of enthusiastic people, including in Carl Quant, Marketing & Communications Manager, with whom we cleaned some beaches last weekend, Avonda Powell, Human Resources Manager, Frank Judell, Finance Manager and I am told the wisest of all, Jan Veneman, Project Manager.

We drove to the park last week on the occasion of a check presentation, when the Shoco Beer Co. donated US $10,000 to Arikok National Park. Because the beer is named after the tiny owl, and because the endangered, unique species is our national symbol, the money will be spent on the shoco nests’ relocation project, namely, moving the owls from their burrows in high-risk areas like construction sites along the Ringweg 3, Green Corridor and Watty Vos Boulevard, to the safety of Arikok National Park.

The small adorable owl, lives above ground, and builds its nests underground. According to me, not a very good strategy, with snakes and other predators working overtime.

But that was god’s plan for the owl, and wise or not, the nests along the construction mayhem must be moved with minimum stress exerted on their tiny occupants.

Introducing Gian Nunes, Research and Conservation Manager. What a nice guy. That is one of his jobs in the park, to dig out sand heaps. It there is no shoco nest inside, the owl pair will relocate itself to a more hospitable area on its own, but if babies are found, tucked into underground tunnels, an alternative nest must be created.

Gian is working on perfecting the ultimate stylish shoco-condo, with an irresistible design that every Mrs. Shoco would love. First the entrance made of a spiral PVC hose, on round level. Then the PVC hose meanders about 7 feet leading to a large chamber, a repurposed 6-feet-under plastic bucket, covered with another upside-down plastic bucket with a skylight, to create an internal dome, topped by a removable sand bucket that’s inserted into the skylight to seal it. That last bucket can be lifted for clean ups and removal of debris, from under the dome.

After extensive research, that clever bucket into bucket design, which apparently works in other places in the world, was imported here, and Gian is applying the acquired know-how to our situation.

Gian explains that when a nest is found, a camera goes in to check things out. While it sounds easy, it presents some built-in challenges, like moving the camera around corners. I think they would probably need a mini robot. But that called for another donation, down the road!

So anyway, Gian is hoping to successfully help the breeding cuties trapped mid construction sites, and give them a new home where they can get busy, and procreate. Keep your fingers crossed that Mr. Owl and Mrs. Owl would like their new condos.

As an after-thought we asked about boas: Their numbers at Arikok National Park are down, because they ate themselves out of existence. No more food for them in the park, the birds and rabbits couldn’t keep up with their appetite. And if found, they are killed. Which is encouraging, because perhaps now the bird populations can recover!

About Shoco beer: Senior sales manager Taylor Escobedo explains that the first two Shoco Beer selections, Blood Orange Blondes and Long Legged Lager, debuted at the Craft Beer Festival held this past May at the Renaissance Convention Center, and were an instant hit right out of the gate. Over the next few months, beer lovers can look forward to Pineapple Wheat Wave, TanLine Tangerine IPA, Sun of a Beach Prickly Pear Wheat, and One Hoppy Island Toasted Coconut Pale Ale.