The Poo Collectors

I guess it’s about time I explain why and how all the poo collecting photos end up in the gallery. See… everything around here at Archipelagos revolves around poo. Be it the mythical otter poo (Jude and Johanna’s territory) or goat poo (now departed team of 7 students from Agrocampus Rennes) among other projects.

Otter poo is more than likely a myth (not one for the mythbusters I’m affraid) but that is hardly an issue for Archipelagos. Decision was made that otters are to be found on the island so we go out there and look for them tirelessly. The problem is that we don’t find any otter poo or prints in the sand (actually seeing an otter is highly unlikely) but large numbers of other poo varieties. Examining it closely is, of course, half the fun.

The french team was dealing with poo on an entirely different scale though. With goats far outnumbering human residents on the island (think somewhere along the lines of 30.000-35.000 animals vs. about 5.000 humans) it’s hard not to find any evidence of their existence. Their research was focused on effects of goat breeding on the forest of Radi (one of last remaining mediterranean forests of Quercus Ilex or so I’ve been told), so poo collecting was one of the things needed to be done in order to determine something or other of significance.
Coming from a country with more than 50% of it covered with trees I wasn’t all that impressed walking around Radi, as perhaps I should have been, but apparently it really is a big deal. It definitely is a nice forest (if somewhat small in scale) with some rather old trees and that’s why they want to protect it. Goats are just one of the problems in this story…

shepherd in Petropouli
shepherd in Petropouli, photo copyright: Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

On site examination of the forest was one aspect of their research so while half the team got to do some measurements and stuff, others were driving around the island interviewing people from every background imaginable. We had interviews with shepherds, farmers, agropolice, forest rangers, mayors & other politicians… damn near half the population.

Postmaster from Evdilos, photo copyright: Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

Definitely a very memorable experience getting to meet such a diverse group of people, hearing their opinions on the forest and more importanly – enjoying their hospitality and eating a lot of great food. I’d certainly like to do more in the future. But I have to edit the movie first…

Photos from the interview are in their own album.

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