Two students from the University of Seychelles (UniSEY) have completed their internships in the Curieuse Marine National Park. Second year students, studying Environment Science, Emlyn Quatre and Alisha Belle, started their   internships on 19th July. Following programme designed by Island Manager, Anto Suzette, the students spent about a week, on the AFB Coral Restoration Project, one week with GVI and another week with SNPA, learning Ranger work. SNPA believes strongly in building capacity of young conservationists so that the country can have a pool of professionals to help protect the country’s unique biodiversity. Many of the current employees of SNPA previously did internships in the Marine Parks. Proof that the programme has achieved its objectives.

 

Alisha learning Nesting Sea Turtle monitoring

 

The two students were captivated by the island’s beauty and natural wonders, such as the gigantic tortoises which roam around freely. The programme designed for the two interns have provided them with knowledge and new experiences. Every day the two girls were discovering and learning about the fauna and flora of the Marine Park. They learnt about the importance of maintaining, monitoring and restoration of coral reef. The students learnt how to identify the various corals and fish seen on the reefs. They helped work on artificial reef structure being built for an ongoing project, which would aid in the restoration of an area around the marine park that has been severely damaged by coral bleaching. Daily activities included patrols and learning about the island’s history, as well as the role of eco-tourism in conservation. Other tasks included beach clean-ups, beach profiling, and monitoring of turtle nesting sites with the GVI, as well as an intriguing ongoing study that monitors the behaviour of land tortoises. The two girls described the internship as a strong learning experience and a lot of hard work, which provided good understanding of the importance of environmental sustainability for current and future generations.

 Getting all geared up to explore the coral nursery

“My most memorable experience in the Curieuse Marine Park was when I went snorkeling with the Coral Restoration Team to view the coral nursery. It was the first time that I saw an underwater nursery and I was amazed!” Explained 23-year-old Alisha Belle.

“Conservation is not an easy profession, it is a noble job that requires the heart and my goal is to inspire more young people to join the field. Nature is not just about conservation it’s also about discovery. I hope that future generations get to experience nature’s splendor like I am,” added a contented Alisha.

 The two students remarked that Ranger life is not easy, it takes a lot of effort. They have observed that SNPA’s rangers are very devoted. They think that SNPA should seek to employ more young people to work as rangers. They were well surprised to see how knowledgeable the boat and tour operators are in regards to the environment.

 SNPA wishes the two students the very best in their studies and hope that the marine park has inspired their final year project.