The Tobago Forest Reserve (or the Main Ridge Reserve) claims to be the oldest protected forests in the Western world. It was designated as a protected Crown reserve on April 17, 1776 following representations by Soame Jenyns a Member of Parliament in Britain who had the responsibility for the development of Tobago. It has remained a protected area ever since.
This forested area has great biodiversity including many species of birds (including the dancing blue-backed manakin), mammals, frogs, (nonpoisonous) snakes, butterflies and other invertebrates. It is one of the most approachable areas of rainforest, since it is relatively small and there are government-appointed guides who provide an authoritative guiding service through the forest at a reasonable cost. The guides are knowledgeable about the plants and the animals, and can call down rare and exotic birds from the canopy by imitating their calls.
Tobago also has nesting beaches for the leatherback turtle, which come to shore between April and July.
Little Tobago, the small neighbouring island, supports some of the best dry forest remaining in Tobago. Little Tobago and St. Giles Island are important seabird nesting colonies, with Red-billed Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird and Audubon's Shearwater amongst others.
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