Project Name: Supporting management effectiveness and improve socio-economic resilience in the Cousin Island Special Reserve, Republic of Seychelles
Funded by: With the financial support of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme
Coordinated by: BIOPAMA Action Component Team
Covering: Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles
Duration: 6 Months
Cousin Island Special Reserve’s main financing mechanism is an eco-tourism based, Tourist User Fee (TUF), which is charged to visitors to the island. The visitors are given an informative guided tour by Wardens who stay on the island and protect the flora and fauna that make Cousin Island both an Important Bird Area (IBA) and a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA). The project aims to assist in rectifying the shortfall in financing being experienced by the reserve due to the collapse of the tourism industry in Seychelles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began affecting travel to Seychelles early in 2020.
It will do this primarily by funding the salaries of 8 Wardens, 1 Island Coordinator and 1 Science Officer to ensure that they can remain stationed on the island and continue to carry out a variety of operational work to maintain the island as well as conservation and research and surveillance activities. The Reserve wardens and scientific staff are stationed on Cousin Island 24/7 and carry out daily patrols of both the land and sea.
Depending on the season, various conservation activities are undertaken:
- Hawksbill turtle nesting season is typically between October to mid-March, followed by hatchlings between December to mid-May.
- Sea bird breeding success monitoring for White Terns and White-tailed Tropicbirds is carried out between February and June, whereas that for Brown and Lesser Noddys happens between June and October.
- A seabird census is carried out in July, November and February.
- Census activities for other forms of wildlife, such as that of Skinks in June, Tortoises in both August and September as well as land birds in April.
- Year-round activities consist of bird ringing, beach profiling, beach cleans and data collection.
As the conditions in the country improve, the project also aims to see the re-establishment of the Conservation Boot Camp, a course managed by Nature Seychelles on Cousin Island, which equips participants with skills through in-the-field conservation activities. It is also the hope of the project to allow Cousin Island Special Reserve to continue contributing to the livelihoods of the locals based on the nearby Praslin Island in two ways. Firstly by increasing the number of tourist visitors to Praslin, and secondly by allowing local tour operators to ferry visitors to Cousin Island, a service that they charge for.
Nature Seychelles is currently exploring alternative financing mechanisms to bolster resilience to shocks such as those experienced due to COVID-19.
The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme aims to improve the long term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF) jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) Building on the first five years of activities financed by the 10th EDF (2012 2017) BIOPAMA’s second phase provides tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions. www.biopama.org
The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of Nature Seychelles and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union nor of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.