The Nature Seychelles’ HQ was as busy as a peak-season seabird island
on Monday, November 28th 2005, as conservationists from throughout the islands gathered at
the Environment and Education Centre. It was the start of the ten-day
learning programme, Island Species-Led Action (ISLA) that we are
hosting. The programme covers both the theory and real-world practice
of island species conservation. We have been delighted at the response
from our partners and colleagues in conservation here.
A special three-day learning programme was held last week as part of
the ongoing project in Seychelles by the non-government organisation
(NGO) Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles to conserve medicinal and
traditional food plants. The learning programme is called Conservation
of Traditional Food Crops in Home and School Gardens, and the venue was
the Plant Genetic Resources Unit of the Ministry of Environment and
Natural Resources, at Grand Anse, Mahe. It was attended by about 30
leaders of Wildlife Clubs from Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette,
and run by a team of expert local trainers.
Invasive species are one of the greatest risks to biodiversity. They
are right up there with habitat destruction in terms of threat. Islands
like Seychelles can only remain a refuge for native and endemic species
while invasive aliens are kept at bay. Nature Seychelles has recently
completed a project to assess the status and management of invasive
plant species on small but important biodiversity islands of Seychelles
by using Cousin and Cousine as examples. Researcher Liz Dunlop, of the
Queensland University of Technology in Australia, led the work, which
was carried out in close collaboration with Cousine island management.
Back in the 1960s, the Seychelles Warbler or Timerl Dezil was probably
the most endangered bird in the world, with only a handful of birds
remaining. Cousin Island, the last place it survived, was purchased
primarily to save this unique bird. Much has been done by BirdLife
International to save the Warbler. Now, Nature Seychelles has been
working with our partners on Denis Island and scientists from the
University of East Anglia in the UK and Groningen in the Netherlands on
a major project to secure the future of our Warbler.