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Conservation

  • Biodiversity

    Previously a coconut plantation, Cousin Island was purchased by the International Council for Bird Protection (now BirdLife) in 1968, for the immediate purpose of saving the endemic Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis. 26 warblers had been found in the mangroves of the island clinging perilously to life, with much of its original habitat converted to coconut plantations. A campaign was started to rescue these birds and they became the flagship species for the island.

    To save the warbler, a habitat restoration programme was implemented: Cousin's coconuts were cut back and native vegetation encouraged to regenerate, which allowed the warbler to flourish. Its numbers increased. Soon over 300 birds could be heard singing on Cousin. From here the warbler was re-introduced to other islands in the Seychelles to boost its population and the bird now occurs on five other islands in the Seychelles. The Warbler has since been downgraded to critically endangered to near threatened on IUCN's Red list of endangered species. Other seabirds, landbirds, wildlife and marine life are also thriving on the island as well as in the waters around the island, which is protected as a nature reserve under Seychelles law.

    Nature Seychelles embarked on a one and a half year wetland rehabilitation project at the Sanctuary with co-funding from the Mangroves For the Future (MFF) initiative and work carried out with the generous support of Sun Excavations of Mahe. The wetlands is not a natural site yet is now home to an ever increasing diversity of nature, both fauna and flora. The site is unique in that it has been designed to maximize habitat potential as well as being a natural attraction for people's enjoyment and education.The Sanctuary can also serve as a demonstration site for improvement and management of wetlands for those who wish to replicate the model.

  • Eco-Tourism

    Seychelles is famous with international tourists for its beautiful environment and this archipelago of 115 islands truly lives up to its name 'paradise' with its stunning views. Cousin Island Special Reserve is one of the islands that receives numerous visitors each year. Cousin however is an island protected under seychelles law. The terrestrial environment as well as the 400 meters surrounding the island is a no-take zone, thereby prohibiting the removal of any plant or animal species. 

    Cousin Island Special Reserve is a world renowned Marine Protected Area (MPA) managed by Nature Seychelles, the BirdLife partner in Seychelles. Cousin Island was once a coconut plantation but now the ecosystem is thriving after years of restoration work. 

    Tourists visit Cousin hoping to experience an unforgettable encounter with nature. Because of conservation efforts over the years, there are numerous bird species flying or perched all over the island, skinks and giant aldabra tortoises roaming freely on the island and when it is turtle nesting season, there is a likelihood to see a turtle arriving, digging a nest, laying eggs returning to the see or just the tracks as evidence of the turtle's visit. 

    Unless special arrangements are made beforehand, tourists are able to visit the island between ten in the morning and noon for a guided island tour by one of the wardens. The staff and volunteers give tourists a brief history of the island and point out various wildlife. Tourists are taken off their boats and onto the Cousin Island's boat which is specifically built to have minimal disturbance to the marine life and for beaching onto the island. 

    Thr tourist fees charged are used to pay the Cousin staff and for other costs that ensure the conservation work continues to be managed successfully.

    NATURE SEYCHELLES ECOTOURISM ACTIONS:

    Cousin Island Special Reserve
    Nature Seychelles manages the ecotourism program on Cousin Island Special Reserve which BirdLife International started in 1972 (the longest running ecotourism program in Seychelles) www.cousinisland.net. Nature Seychelles continues to:
    1. Adhere to current best practice for ecotourism and visitor management
    2. Train its Wardens in nature interpretation and guest relations
    3. Liaise with tourism destination management companies to ensure smooth operations
    4. Use ecotourism revenues solely for conservation and as a sustainable financing mechanism
    5. Maintain and improve facilities and infrastructure to do with eco-tourism, eg. Visitor shelters, signage, mooring buoys
    6. Train its wardens in boat handling, health and safety, firefighting, and first aid
    7. Monitor key biodiversity to follow trends and impacts if any of visitations.
    8. Maintain strict guidelines for access and entry to the Special Reserve
    9. Market the Special Reserve as a wilderness area with priority given to conservation over all activities
    10. Maintain the Special Reserve as the world’s first Carbon Neutral protected area in the world.

    The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman (SARC)

    Nature Seychelles upkeeps this sanctuary as the only managed urban wetland in Seychelles . It is situated on Mahe island. 
    1. Manage the SARC as a Park for People
    2. Maintain facilities such as the boardwalk, Bird Hide, and toilets for visitors
    3. Control access
    4. Maintain and monitor biodiversity populations.
    5. Source funding for implementation of projects

    Nationally

    1. Work with island hotel/resort managers to restore ecosystems and biodiversity
    2. Support hotel/resort management with technical and scientific environmental expertise
    3. Maintain good relations at the highest levels in the Ministry of Tourism
    4. Participate whenever possible in relevant activities organized by the Ministry
    5. Provide free access to select journalists /film makers through Seychelles Tourism Board (STB)
    6. Provide information and data to the Ministry and to STB
    7. Seek funding for eco- tourism related projects

Find us

 

Click on the map for directions to the Blue Economy Knowledge Centre

Get in touch

Blue Economy Knowledge Center

The Center for Environment & Education

P.O.Box 1310, Victoria, Seychelles.

Phone: +(248) 460-1100

Email: blueeconomy@seychelles.net