The Seychelles Magpie Robin is one of the rarest birds in the world with approximately 260 individuals; the bird was in even greater peril before the start of the recovery programme in 1990 with only 23 birds on one island. In 1990 the SMR Recovery Programme was launched in response to a collapse in numbers.
The early days of the recovery programme focused on stabilizing and recovering the last population on Fregate Island: research was implemented in parallel to conservation management. Once the population stabilized and increased there were sufficient birds to be re-established on Cousin, Cousine and Aride.
The recovery programme was managed by Birdlife International and the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) between 1990 and 1997. In 1998 management was localised and passed to Nature Seychelles (formerly BirdLife Seychelles). All management decisions are now agreed by a local team of stakeholders comprising island owners and mangers, Ministry of Environment and Nature Seychelles. This participatory stakeholder group, devised, set up and co-ordinated by Nature Seychelles is called SMART (Seychelles Magpie Robin Team).
SMART is chaired by the Magpie robin co-ordinator who is paid by Nature Seychelles. The co-ordinator organises twice yearly meetings to examine progress and make management decisions, produces a twice annual newsletter, maintains the SMR database, and acts as a focal point for the collation of blood samples for molecular sexing and for trouble shooting.
Since early 2004 all islands with SMR populations have taken overall management responsibility for their own populations. All islands have a staff member who is responsible for SMR management and these people represent the respective islands on SMART.
Liaison with SMART
Every effort has been made ensure SMART is an effective management body, whilst minimising time and financial inputs. SMART meetings are held twice a year and a report is produced to an agreed format, and SMR managers from each island submit a section. The database is maintained by the smart co-ordinator and island SMR officers submit copies of data sheets every 6 months. As required, exchanges and training can be organised between members
Normal contributions to SMART are
- Submission of a short update for the newsletter in July and December
- Submission of data sheets to maintain the database
- Attendance at the meetings January and July