The Mt Sebert trail is found in the Cascade district. From the top of the Mt. Sebert summit, one has a clear view of the International Airport and the East coastline. The trail offers many rare and endemic species of fauna and flora, including palms such as Latanier Latte and Latanier Millepattes. Here one can enjoy a peaceful walk and can hear the tiniest frogs in the world, the Sooglosids, calling.

Nature Seychelles has called on local volunteers to carry out the reef rescue project that will restore reefs destroyed by climate-induced bleaching.

The project’s technical manager Dr Gideon Levy said it is crucial for them to take part. Volunteers can help in preparing and transplanting of corals.

"Local people can learn valuable techniques for reef restoration. As we have done with our pioneering land-based island restoration programmes in the past we would like to generate a pool of skilled local persons for sustained reef restoration," Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles’ chief executive said.

The call was made at workshop to introduce the United States Agency for International Development-Reef Rescue project being carried out by the organisation.

Held at the island conservation centre on Praslin, this workshop brought together representatives of the Seychelles National Parks Authority, Seychelles Fishing Authority, Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association, Praslin Development Fund, Seychelles Islands Foundation and local boat charters.

Learning can be fun

A school holiday camp was organised last month to provide children from various schools in the country valuable outdoor experiences which promote relationship with the environment and build deep environmental knowledge and understanding of the world that surrounds them.

Its objectives are to develop a generation of eco-warriors who become active citizens, making lifelong informed environmentally sustainable decisions; to promote an appreciation and lifelong connectedness to the environment and eventually influence their interest in performing environmentally friendly behaviour; to develop young environment leaders who will eventually become active environment change agents in their respective schools and communities; to develop confidence and enhance social skills for active citizenships and to provide school children with alternative fun educational activities during school holidays.

The mastermind behind the activities involved were staff from the Environment Education Unit of the Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change; the Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA); conservation and GVI Volunteers. The programme was sponsored by the Children’s Fund and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

Curieuse Island, known for its land tortoises that roam freely on the island, is not only famous for its rich natural beauty but also for its rich history. The Doctor’s House, which houses a small museum recounting the story of the island, is another pride of Curieuse.

After being closed for over a year for renovation work, the building which is now a National Monument re-opened earlier last week in a small ceremony in the presence of Minister Didier Dogley, Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, representatives from the Seychelles Marine National Parks Authority, Seychelles Heritage Foundation, children from the Praslin schools and various other partners.

Formerly used as a confinement for leprosy sufferers from 1829 to 1900 and again from 1937 to 1965, Curieuse still bears scars of the great fire of 1967 which destroyed an extensive part of the island’s vegetation.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, which was common in the 1900s, is a bacterial infection which causes severe disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage to various parts of the body. Due to the fact that the disease was thought to be highly contagious, patients were confined on Curieuse Island to be treated and also as a form of protection for the rest of the community. Built in 1873 as residence of the Scottish Medical Officer in charge Dr. William MacGregor, the one storey building was of a traditional, colonial architecture, much of which it still displays today.

It was Minister Dogley and Air Seychelles representative Allan Renaud who officially opened the doors of the building. This was followed by a visit of the house, not only by the attendees but by eager visitors who were honoured to have witnessed this ceremony.

“I am happy that we could finally complete the reparation works and reopen the building, this is a good start in itself. I remember when I was first took office as the Minister for Environment I was saddened by the state of the Doctor’s House, especially from the wonderful memories I had of it from the time of Mrs Danielle De St Jore; it was really a beauty then. I am fascinated by old buildings and believe they should be preserved. So we decided that we had to do something to restore the Doctor’s House. We are grateful to our partners especially Air Seychelles. Though much has been done, the project remains ongoing especially for the exhibitions inside. Much emphasis has to be put on maintenance as well, so as to keep the building in a good condition,” Minister Dogley shared.

Air Seychelles, the project’s main sponsor, printed and updated the historical data in the re-modelled exhibition in the ground floor of the building.

Being the original sponsor of the exhibition, the national airline welcomed the idea to assist towards the refurbishment of the house. The first floor of the house rather displays the natural heritage of the island from artwork by local artists Dodo, Ally and Ernesta. From landscape paintings on the walls to hanging fish from the ceiling and dried tortoise shells, this floor depicts the ecological beauty of Curieuse and various species which occupy the island and its surrounding waters.

In his address to the invitees, Selby Remie, the chairperson of the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), thanked all their partners and sponsors for their contribution towards the project and shared their desire for further partnership building.

He also advised the attendees that the project is an ongoing one and there are still some more work to be done.

Air Seychelles and Minister Dogley received tokens for their dedication towards the project in the ceremony.

Marvin Pool, a young student from Baie Ste Anne primary school, Chloe Michel from Praslin secondary school and Sir Andre and his young choir from Grand Anse Praslin primary school shared their poems and songs on that occasion.

“Those wooden doors which once welcomed so many people whom the society had left aside and abandoned, today welcomes so many visitors to share the story of a small island of great history and natural heritage. The Doctor’s House not only preserves the history of the island but also remains open for future documentations on the island. If only those walls had the power to speak, they could reveal so much. As the future generation we vow to keep this archive alive.”

The accompanying photos show highlights of the ceremony.

Trials to implant micro-chips on fist-sized giant tortoises are underway on Curieuse Island as the Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA) implements new measures to prevent illegal trading of juvenile tortoises.

The small microchips, which are usually implanted in adults, are now being used on tortoises weighing not more than 100 grammes and only a few inches long.

According to local turtle expert Jeanne Mortimer, these tags donated by the Parco Natura Viva - Garda Zoological Park in Italy have never been used on juvenile tortoises but does not inflict any harm on them.

On March 19, 2017, the Ste Anne Marine Park turns 44, making it the oldest marine park in the country.

To celebrate this important milestone in marine conservation in Seychelles, a series of activities are being organised by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) and its partners.

The main event will be an Adventure Race, scheduled for Sunday March 19, staring at 9am on Long island.

Seychelles yesterday celebrated World Protected Areas Day. To mark the occasion, a group of children from primary and secondary schools marched in the streets of Victoria calling for the preservation of areas which have been demarcated as protected ones.

The procession which started at the Ministry of Environment at Mont Fleuri and ended at the National Library after passing through the Revolution, Independence and 5th June avenues,  was accompanied by written as well as verbal slogans on the theme chosen for this year which is: ‘Healthy ecosystems through protected areas’. The need to protect our oceans, forests, marine parks and the species which live in them were among the calls of the children. Each school also had the opportunity to present a sketch on a particular environment concern.

At the National Library, the march which had been led by the principal secretary for Environment Alain Decommarmond and the chief executive (CEO) of the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) Flavien Joubert was joined by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Didier Dogley and other invitees who included members of the National Assembly (MNAs) from certain districts. The children presented Minister Dogley with the first edition of the Wildlife Club magazine depicting the outer islands.

This was after Neil Commettant of Beau Vallon secondary school had in what he had called “the cry of my heart” prayed for the protection of Seychelles’ rich biodiversity. As he rightly said, the future of our country depends on just that.

Minister Dogley warned that while we celebrate Protected Areas Day for the first time in Seychelles, “the world is at a crossroad where we are approaching the sixth global extinction of biodiversity”.

He added that as we lose biodiversity, may it be land or marine, we have to protect it and the best way he said is to use the areas we have and promote their species and ecosystem.

He remarked that while protected areas are important as part of our natural heritage or water sources, many people do not understand their importance and rather ask why they are not used for development.

Commenting that countries which do not have a rich biodiversity are among the poorest in the world, the minister reminded that Seychelles will be a poorer country if we do not protect its environment.

He asked the children to thus send the message to others that protected areas are important for our country.

Observing that while 47% of the country is protected this is the case for only 1% of the marine space, Minister Dogley talked of plans to increase the area to 30%. With Seychelles’ debt-for-nature swap programme, he said, more money will be used to finance protected areas. This will include for an ongoing project with the Islands Development Company (IDC) for some outlying islands which have never been protected before.

Minister Dogley also announced the Nature Reserves and Conservancy Bill which will be presented to the National Assembly for approval this year. The Bill, he said, will bring about the legal framework necessary to protect our biodiversity.

The Protected Areas Day is also being commemorated by an exhibition which will be opened until today at the Carrefour des Arts. It shows various actions being carried out by different organisations in favour of environment conservation in Seychelles. These include Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS), Green Island Foundation (GIF), Plant Conservation Action Group, SNPA, Island Conservation Society (ICS), Denis Island, North Island, the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and the Global Environment Facility programme of the government of Seychelles and United Nations Development Program (GOS-UNDP-GEF).

Pas de demi-mesure, mais bien ½ million d’amende et 2 ans de prison ferme !

Après les nouveaux hologrammes de sécurité sur les nouveaux billets de banque seychellois, c’est au tour du coco-de-mer d’avoir le même niveau de protection.

Difficile de falsifier la plus grosse graine du monde, le coco-de-mer, pour ceux qui essaieraient avec ce nouveau dispositif. Non seulement, il implique une meilleure traçabilité, mais en plus, cela permettra de mieux surveiller le commerce du coco-de-mer. D’ailleurs, une nouvelle procédure commerciale va rentrer en vigueur en même temps que l’hologramme dès le 1er février prochain.

Ces changements au niveau de la gestion du coco-de-mer interviennent afin de protéger encore plus cette espèce afin de maintenir sa valeur écologique et endémique. C’est aussi un nouveau levier pour lutter contre son commerce illégal.