Two local islands in competition for most wildlife

May 7th, 2016 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

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Two West Cork islands are to take part in Ireland’s first ever Wildlife Weekend.

TWO West Cork islands are to take part in Ireland’s first ever Wildlife Weekend.

The National Biodiversity Data Centre and The Heritage Council have come together to organise the weekend which takes place from June 9th-12th, showcasing the unique wildlife and heritage of five of the country’s offshore islands.

The weekend aims to introduce people to the special world of wildlife in five very unique settings – West Cork’s Cape Clear and Bere Island, along with Inis Mór, Clare Island and Tory Island. 

 The weekend will feature a rich and diverse programme of family-friendly events on the islands, which includes whale and dolphin trips, foraging along the seashore, walks exploring the coast flora and insect life, nocturnal bat walks and star gazing.

 The weekend will culminate in Island BioBlitz, a unique race against time to see which of Ireland’s five offshore islands can record the most wildlife species over a 24-hour period. 

From 12 noon until June 11th to 12 noon on June 12th, experts and members of the public on the five islands will compete against each other to see which island has the greatest diversity of wildlife and where the most wildlife species can be found. This will require a huge effort, with the winning island probably having to record over 1,000 species.

 Heritage Council chief executive Michael Starrett said that our natural heritage is a vital national asset that brings great joy to adult and child alike, as well as supporting our lives though the many services they provide. 

‘Wildlife Weekend aims to encourage people to have a direct experience of our unique wildlife by inviting everyone to join in the week-long festivities on some of our most special offshore islands,’ Mr Starrett said.

 According to Liam Lysaght, director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, the Island BioBlitz is a fun event where experts and members of the public join forces to explore the rich diversity of life found on our off-shore islands. ‘It is a race against time to see which island can record the most species of wildlife over a 24-hour period, but it is also a celebration of the unique heritage and character of Ireland’s off-shore islands,’ he said.

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