The coral restoration work being undertaken by Nature Seychelles has received praise from the US Ambassador to Seychelles Shari Villarosa for being a good example to the world.
Through a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported project, the organization is restoring corals affected by climate change. Thousands of corals have been grown in nurseries under the sea since the project started in 2010. The project has now entered its final stage, the transplantation of corals onto degraded reefs, being piloted around Cousin Island Special Reserve, which Nature Seychelles manages.
On a recent visit to Praslin and Cousin Island Special Reserve, Ambassador Villarosa had the opportunity to witness first-hand the work being carried out by the project named Reef Rescuer, when she received a presentation on the project before visiting the project site.
The ambassador was taken through the project activities, the efforts so far and the future of the project by Kevin Moses, one of the project's scientific divers. This was followed by a visit to the nursery site for a guided snorkel with the Reef Rescuer divers.
"I was most excited to see the reef restoration because the reefs of the world are so important to our future and they are destroyed so we've got to figure out a way to get them back because I think the destruction of reefs is going to have very grave problems for us in the future."
"I am impressed by what I saw, its growing, I hope it continues to thrive. This is a very important project for the entire world," Ambassador Villarosa said.
The Ambassador also visited Cousin Island for a full tour of this world-class nature reserve. She was shown around the island by Chief Warden Daniel White and warden Marcus Dubel. Also present was Cousin Conservation Officer April Burt. The tour lasted an hour and a half and took in all the highlights of Cousin.
A former coconut plantation, the nature reserve was transformed into a thriving home for endangered species when it was discovered that the Seychelles warbler lived there and was on the edge of extinction. Purchased by BirdLife International in 1968, the Government of Seychelles designated the island first as a nature reserve then a special reserve soon after. Cousin was cleared of its coconuts and native vegetation allowed to return. It has now been transformed into a home for endangered land birds like the warbler and Seychelles magpie robin, thousands of seabirds and is one of the most important rookeries for nesting Hakwbill turtles in the western Indian Ocean.
After her tour of the island the Ambassador had discussions on eco-tourism on Cousin with nature Seychelles staff.