The crab island

  • Pangatalan Island, Philippines

  • 20-day mission

  • Illustration and inventory of an ecosystem

The mission to the island of Pangatalan is in response to Fred and Chris Tardieu’s request to take stock of an ecosystem in remission. Pangatalan is a small island of 4 hectares landlocked in a bay northeast of Palawan, in the western Philippines. This small piece of land has been deforested right down to its mangroves, and its waters over-fished with dynamite and cyanide. Fred and Chris adopted the island not only to settle here, but to breathe new life into its ecosystem: 60,000 trees replanted, 10,000 mangrove trees to reconstitute the mangrove, and 300 small artificial reefs. The Andromède team went to the site to carry out a Zero-Assessment of the biotope and its biodiversity, and to monitor its evolution over several years. Laurent Ballesta’s illustrations focused on the singular scenery of this reef set in muddy soil, and on the island’s emblematic animal, the horseshoe crab, classified as a vulnerable species, which finds here a refuge to live and reproduce.