Governor Laffan’s fern. *Photo supplied
Governor Laffan’s fern. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25: For the last nine years conservationists in Bermuda have been working with the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha to protect the critically endangered Governor Laffan’s Fern.

In 2002, one small sample of spores was sent to the US in a bid to save the species from extinction. Today thousands of new ferns have been grown in Omaha and wildlife experts here hope to start bringing back the fern this year when it will be carefully placed in the wild.

A few ferns were even returned to Bermuda in 2006 and have been housed at the government plant nursery at Tulo Valley and the Botanical Gardens.

Drew Pettit, director of Conservation Services, said Governor Laffan’s Fern was now considered extinct in the wild in Bermuda, and had not been seen growing on the island since 1905.

He added: “According to botanist Nathanial Britton’s 1918 book Flora of Bermuda, this fern was found in cave mouths and rock crevices between Harrington Sound and Paynters Vale up until 1905.

“Britton describes seeing this very rare fern in the wild in the autumn of 1905, but in 1913 when he returned to a location known to have the fern it could not be found.

“Britton says he studied these plants in 1914, but was unable to successfully raise young ferns from the spores.”

Mr Pettit told the Sun that without conservation action it is likely that this fern would have become extinct.”