WHG not only contributes to Barbados’s cultural and natural history, WHG provides an ecological research space, a ‘living lab’ for conservation. Since 2009, WHG has been promoting flora conservation with a Native Plant Restoration Project. Not only have native plants been restored at the gully, natives species not recorded are slowly being seen again when parts of the gully are cleared of invasive species. Barbados’s native flora in particular is under stress.
However, fauna can now be added to WHG conservation efforts. In the summer of 2012 during the Back to Nature camps, campers found the world’s smallest snake, Leptotyphlops carlae, (found only in Barbados). Since then, the campers found several more. These snakes are considered uncommon in Barbados and WHG can be considered a conservational area for their preservation. Additionally, with the changes in climate patterns, several changes in the plants have been observed. For example, trees not bearing for years, bearing at odd times etc. Further investigation would be desirable on a conservation level.
This snake belongs to a family of worm-like, secretive, burrowing snakes and is the smallest snake in the world. The eyes are covered by scales. They are about 3 ½ inches long, virtually toothless, feeds on insects larvae and termites and is harmless.
Butterflies and Birds
As a direct result of prorogating and returning native plants to Welchman Hall Gully, there has been an increase of butterflies and birds. One butterfly that has made it home at Welchman Hall Gully has been the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Indian Root (Asclepias curassavica) was planted at Welchman Hall Gully over a year ago, shortly after that Monarchs started arriving. They can only eat two types of plants. Both plants are considered weeds and not much attention has been has been mad of them. But, it is the destruction of the monarch’s natural habitat as well as the use of modern day herbicides has had a devastating impact. Much of the wildlife and plants once abundant in Barbados are still here despite the loss of habitat. And the great thing is that encouraging them to come back is not that difficult.
With the increase of flowering plants to Welchman Hall Gully, the staff has noticed an increase in birds, especially humming birds..