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Strongylò Island – the living dead

Strongylò was a little Garden Eden in the Aegean Sea - in the Skantzoura archipelago of the Northern Sporades.

Until it was devastated by people who had brought goats and rabbits to this vulnerable isle.

In April 1958 I visited Strongylò  for the first time to study the hitherto unknown lizards that lived there in the shelter of  lush foliage. Once this green cover was destroyed, the lizards hardly could survive because most insects vanished as well (cf. my article Skantzoura - the satellite islands: Symbiosis with Eleonora's falcons).

The fragile nature of such tiny  spot in the sea is not strong enough to recover. And the threats - mostly rabbits - still continue to exist. To come back to life Strongylò needs human help. So I pledge to the Management Body of the Marine Park: take the rabbits (and goats) off the entire archipelago - they afflict immense damage. Already in 1957 we noticed rabbits on Pappoù Island. As it is forbidden to hunt in the park, these animals multiply rapidly.

For the sake of rehabilitation, the species evident on my pictures of 1958 should be re-planted.

Please accept this urgent need for action!

The original species composition (as documented below) was quite peculiar, different from that on the other satellite islands of Skantzoura.

In 2005 the Hellenic Ornithological Society, in the framework of the EU programme LIFE for the protection of Eleonorae's falcon colonies in the Aegean realm, carried out a rat eradication campaign on the islands Lachanoù, Kasídis and Polemikà. It should be mentioned in this context that colonies of Falco eleonorae during the time of my field work (late 1950s until beginning of 1980s) not only nested on Lachanoù (as stated by the H.O.S.), but also on Kas(s)ídis, Polemikà and Strongylò as well as Pipéri. Further, minor breeding sites were located on Gioúra and Kyra Panagiá (cf. SCHULTZE-WESTRUM T, 1961. Beobachtungen an Eleonorenfalken. In: Anzeiger der Bayerischen Ornithologischen Gesellschaft, Vol. VI).

Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Goats, Northern SporadesSchlagwörter , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.