Coral Reef Restoration

  • 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.

  • Reef Rescuers


    Nature Seychelles' coral reef restoration project is aimed at restoring coral reefs that have been negatively impacted due to Climate Change, one of the main threats to marine ecosystems. Corals in the Seychelles and the region have been destroyed by ocean warming and coral bleaching events, threatening the livelihoods of millions of coastal peoples in Eastern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean islands. 

    Coral bleaching interferes with reef's health and resilience capacity, harms coral’s ability to regenerate, affects reproductive performances and increases disease prevalence. The Reef Rescuers Project has been restoring damaged coral reefs by growing different coral species in nurseries and transplanting them onto degraded sites.

    The project began in 2010 with the financial support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Further financial support was received under the Government of Seychelles-Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Dvelopment Project (UNDP) Protected Area Project in 2011.

    Through the project we are piloting the first-ever large scale active reef restoration project in the region using ‘coral gardening’. Coral gardening involves collecting small pieces of healthy coral, raising them in underwater nurseries and then transplanting them to degraded sites that have been affected by coral bleaching. 50,000 fragments of coral have been raised in underwater nurseries and a further 15,000 transplanted in degraded areas. 


    In July 2015, Nature Seychelles conducted the first ever Reef Rescuers Training Program in the Seychelles. The six week training was attended by students from as far wide as Australia, Europe, and USA. The course was an intensive practical and theory based learning program aimed at equipping the trainees with the knowledge to restore corals in their home countries or where they are currently placed. Following the training a toolkit will be developed to document key learning points and for possible future training. The Reef Rescuers Training Program was carried out by Sarah Frias-Torres, (Reef Rescuers Coordinator) and Phanor Montoya-Maya, (Reef Rescuers Technical/Scientific officer).