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Sesuvium Marsh Habitat Land Acquisition

Environment 12 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Sesuvium Marsh Habitat Land Acquisition

The Little Cayman District Committee of the National Trust For The Cayman Islands (NTCI) is very pleased to announce the purchase of a 14.4 acre parcel of land on Little Cayman in the Snipe Point area interior at the east end of the island. The parcel contains part of the Sesuvium Marsh habitat, one of ten distinct habitats found on Little Cayman that were first listed by D.R. Stoddart following a joint Royal Society and C.I. Government scientific expedition to Little Cayman in 1975. Sesuvium Marsh is the smallest of these habitats found on Little Cayman and only in this area. As many will know, much of the Cayman Islands natural interior is covered in dense vegetation whether low scrub, mangrove forest, or dry woodland. Sesuvium marsh is one of the few naturally occurring open environments, other than water features, in the interior of these islands. As part of the evaluation process the Executive Director of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Frank Roulstone, surveyed the parcel. No easy feat given the almost impenetrable cliff rock and thick bush filled with copious numbers of manchineel and poisonwood trees surrounding the area. He commented of the open marsh, “I have never seen a place like this on Little Cayman or even in the Cayman Islands for that matter. I have heard about this area my whole life but only after talking with Patricia Bradley, who visited the area back in 1984, did I risk life and limb to see it for myself. It is most definitely a national treasure.” The land was found to be in its pristine, natural state never disturbed by human activity. Indeed, very few people have ever ventured into the area given the extreme difficulty of hiking the surrounding terrain. It is dotted with small freshwater ponds which are important to resident and migratory birds as well as providing fresh water sources year-round for endemic Sister Islands Rock Iguanas. The commonly called Cayman Brac cactus, Harrisia caymanensis and Prickly Pear Tree, Consolea macracantha, the former endemic and rare and the latter infrequent, were found on the parcel.

Little Cayman District Committee Chairperson, Gregory S. McTaggart said, “While direct access to the area is frightfully difficult, it is located relatively close to several roads and an elevated observation platform off of one of these roads could be considered in the future to provide National Trust members and the general public the opportunity to see this unique Little Cayman environment.”

The purchase was made possible through a donation of US $200,000 by National Trust member and longtime resident of Little Cayman Mrs. Brigitte Kassa and with the support and generosity of our annual Easter Auction donors and bidders. The 2021 and 2023 Easter Auctions were dedicated to raising money for the Little Cayman District Committee Land Fund.

The Little Cayman District Committee of the NTCI and The National Trust For The Cayman Islands sincerely thank Brigitte and our Easter Auction donors and bidders for their support and generosity in helping make this acquisition possible in order to preserve and protect this special natural environment of Little Cayman for present and future generations of Caymanians to experience and enjoy.

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