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'Save our species'

'Save our species'

Wednesday 29 March 2023

'Save our species'

Wednesday 29 March 2023


The new President of La Société Guernesiase wants to see more legal protection for habitats and species during his two year tenure.

Trevor Bourgaize was elected last week during the organisation's AGM.

He replaces Roy Bisson as President, who will stay on as a Société member following his two year's in the leading role. 

roy Bisson trevor bourgaize

Pictured: Roy Bisson and Trevor Bourgaize.

Immediately after taking on his new role, Mr Bourgaize was getting involved with the different sections. There was a rock pool ramble at Salerie on Sunday which he was involved with, and on Saturday he attended an eel grass survey at Bordeaux.

Having been interested in the natural environment since childhood, Mr Bourgaize has developed an awareness and understanding of the different sections which make up La Société, alongside his own keen study of moths which he has worked on for decades.

"I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I know a lot about them," he said. "I started off with birds and then you start noticing (other things), 'I haven't seen that before, or that before...'. There are over 13,000 species (of moths) on the Guernsey list so they cover a whole range."

Pressed on what his personal aims are during his two years as President, Mr Bourgaize said updating the island's legislation to ensure protection for rare species and their habitats is a crucial issue. 

"I'd like to think that soon we will soon get habitat and species legislation. We are so far behind the rest of the western world. It is pitiful," he said.

"If it wasn't for La Société and the National Trust and their nature reserves I suspect we would have lost a lot of our really good marsh lands. Even the rarest species we've got, there is no legal requirement to look after them. 

"You might have the rarest bird on your property and you mustn't disturb its nest, but you can cut down and get rid of its nest site before the next breeding season. That's not protection.

"We really need to have a list of species that we need to look after and the sort of habitats we want to preserve as well."

A lot of the work that La Société does is around recording species and habitats he said, with those records being used for the island's archives and future planning too.

"Everything we record we try and get onto the biological records section. Obviously we enjoy doing it but it's all about recording, and finding the best habitats. We'll do bio-blitz's and we get the schools involved. 

"Some of the shingle beaches have got some of the rarest British millipedes, centipedes, things from the woodlouse family, the scaly crickets...they are one of the rarest crickets in the world and Guernsey has a good population of them. But we don't have any protection to look after them."

The different sections of La Société do work in different areas and recently one member of the Entomology Section found a plant called 'fringed raptor wort' at L'ancresse.

Mr Bourgaize said that plant had little cases on it, which they think is the first time a new species of moth has been found in Europe.

"So all these plants, they don't just matter for what they are, but they also matter because there are things that feed on them that will not feed on anything. So, lose the plant, and you lose a creature, or maybe two."

LISTEN: Hear Mr Bourgaize's interview with Express in full below: 

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