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Conservation Boot Camp

Bootstrap your career in conservation. Whether you want to to break into conservation or bolster your experience and knowledge, join the world's first Conservation Boot Camp where you can gain a much coveted, unique and exclusive experince working in a world renowned and multiple award winning nature reserve...Read more

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Implementing the SDGs

At Nature Seychelles we are committed to working with government, development partners and donors in implementing relevant actions, in particular, looking at certain goals where we can build on our existing strengths. Read more

Seychelles Wildlife

Natural environment of the Seychelles

Seychelles is a unique environment, which sustains a very special biodiversity. It is special for a number of different reasons. These are the oldest oceanic islands to be found anywhere...

Bird Watching

Seychelles is a paradise for birdwatchers, you can easily see the unique land birds, the important sea bird colonies, and the host of migrants and vagrants. Some sea bird...

Seychelles Black Parrot

Black Parrot or Kato Nwar in Creolee is brown-grey in colour, not truly black. Many bird experts treat it as a local form of a species found in Madagascar and...

Fairy Tern

The Fairy (or white) Tern is a beautiful bird seen on all islands in Seychelles, even islands like Mahe where they are killed by introduced rats, cats and Barn Owls....

Introduced Land Birds

A little over two hundred years ago, there were no humans living permanently in Seychelles. When settlement occurred, people naturally brought with them the animals and plants they needed to...

Native Birds

Although over 190 different species of bird have been seen on or around the central islands of Seychelles (and the number is increasing all the time), many of these are...

Migrant Shore Birds

Shallow seas and estuaries are very rich in invertebrate life. Many birds feed on the worms, crabs and shellfish in these habitats; often, they have long bills for probing sand...

Seychelles Magpie Robin

The most endangered of the endemic birds, Seychelles Magpie Robin or Pi Santez in Creole, came close to extinction in the late twentieth century; in 1970 there were only about...

Seychelles Blue Pigeon

The Seychelles Blue Pigeon or Pizon Olande in Creole, spends much of its life in the canopy of trees and eats the fruits of figs, bwa dir, ylang ylang and...

Seychelles White-eye

The Seychelles White-eye or Zwazo Linet in Creole, is rare and endemic. They may sometimes be seen in gardens and forest over 300m at La Misere, Cascade and a few...

Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher

The Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher or the Vev in Creole is endemic to Seychelles, you cannot find this bird anywhere else on earth. Although it was once widespread on...

Seychelles Sunbird

The tiny sunbird or Kolibri in Creole, is one of the few endemic species that has thrived since humans arrived in the Seychelles.



  • Stopped near extinctions of birds +

    Down-listing of the critically endangered Seychelles warbler from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened. Other Seychelles birds have also been saved including the Seychelles Magpie Robin, Seychelles Fody, and the Seychelles
  • Restored whole island ecosystems +

    We transformed Cousin Island from a coconut plantation to a thriving vibrant and diverse island ecosystem. Success achieved on Cousin was replicated on other islands with similar conservation activities.
  • Championed climate change solutions +

    Nature Seychelles has risen to the climate change challenge in our region in creative ways to adapt to the inevitable changing of times.
  • Education and Awareness +

    We have been at the forefront of environmental education, particularly with schools and Wildlife clubs
  • Sustainable Tourism +

    We manage the award-winning eco-tourism programme on Cousin Island started in 1970
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Cousin Island Special Reserve; A Visiting Wardens Perspective

Bruce Leslie worked on Cousin from January to March 2006 as a visiting warden from Kruger National Park in South Africa to Cousin as part of Nature Seychelles' Experience Exchange Programme (EXP) under the GEF/World Bank Project. Bruce reports on his experience on Cousin and Seychelles.

It is almost impossible to explain to someone who has never visited an oceanic island and experienced the wildlife which inhabit these amazing places what it is actually like. Most people will not actually appreciate how different continents and oceanic islands are in terms of the fauna and flora and how the natural selection processes such as predation or the lack of predation have played in shaping the endemic wildlife found on these geographically isolated areas, such as the Seychelles.

Fairy terns don't build nests, they just put their eggs on a branch© B. Leslie

Fairy tern chick about two weeks old © B. Leslie

Hawksbill turtle coming up Cousin beach to lay eggs © B. Leslie

Bruce tagging a hawksbill turtle © H. Tanskannen

To date my entire 19 year career in conservation has been spent in protected area management in Southern Africa, very far away from any oceanic island. I remember studying about island bio-geography during my collage days and been fascinated as to how dynamically natural selection processes influences isolated populations of any species and their development over time. One just has to be reminded of the Galapagos Islands and think of the numerous wonderful documentaries which have been produced over the years to appreciate how speciation is influenced by factors such as geographic isolation, climatic differences and vegetation and how these factors effect similar but yet geographically isolated populations of the same species over time. Darwin’s Finches are the perfect example of this. So when the opportunity arose for me to get involved in the Cousin Island Special Reserve visiting wardens exchange program I jumped at the opportunity. There was definitely no need to be pushed!

Coming from a protected area such as the Kruger National Park in Southern Africa where predation and avoiding been eaten is an important way of life, Island life is totally on the opposite end of the scale- everything is in your face! I don’t recall any thing ever running away to escape my presence. The most one can expect was a squawk from a White –tailed Tropicbird just to inform you not to stand on its nesting site by accident.

During my stay the White-tailed Tropicbirds, Fairy Terns, Audubon’s and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters where nesting by the thousands. While the Lesser Noddy, Brown Noddy and Bridled Tern numbers steadily increased. Just prior to my departure in mid March the Bridled Terns and a few Brown Noddy’s had started courting and nesting.  Some of my most memorable times on Cousin where just sitting on the hill top or granite out crop over looking the sea trying to understand how the ecology functioned and fitted together. For example; what are the linkages between the marine and terrestrial ecosystems and how do they function together?

Very basically I now realize that an island to a seabird is just a big over sized platform which provides a stable and convenient environment on which to lay an egg and raise and fledge a chick. However to the other animals and plants stuck to the terrestrial environment or island the sea birds play an important role in nutrient cycling from the marine environment. This occurs in the form of gwano and other by products such as dead and decaying seabirds which die from natural causes or fish which is dropped to the ground while feeding a chick. This nutrient enriched environment in turn provides rich soils for a variety of plants and trees. This then provides structure within and upon which both terrestrial and seabirds can nest.

The geology of the island was exceptionally fascinating and obviously in a continual state of flux, driven on the short term by the north westerly and south westerly monsoon winds.While the rising and falling sea levels during the inter-glacial periods over the last several million years or so had a significant effect on the island geomorphology.

Today the importance of the monsoon winds is obvious in its effects on beach erosion and sediment transportation and deposition. Literally thousands of tons of beach sand is transported from one side of the island to the other and back each year. This has a short term effect on the day to day operations of the island staff as tourists visiting the island have to be beached by the island boat at the safest location where the beach profile is conducive to safe beaching of the boat. In turn hard corals cannot establish on the inshore lime stone reef which is continually been exposed and covered by the moving sands. However on a seasonal basis the exposure of the inshore lime stone reef provides a surface for alga beds to develop which are frequented by hundreds of Convict Surgeon fish, mullet and other fish. These fish feed on the algae during the high tides.

 If you were part of the Hawksbill Turtle population utilizing the dune crest as a potential nesting site then you may also be faced with the probability that your nesting site may well be eroded by wave action and lost to the sea for good. But considering that a single hawksbill female may visit the island to nest two to three times in a single season. The natural beach erosion taking place together with egg predation by ghost crabs on the turtles eggs at nesting sites must play an important part in controlling the numbers of hatchlings going to sea. However Hawksbill Turtles are an endangered species and it is therefore important to reduce these negative impacts by relocation of potentially negatively effected nesting sites to safer areas.

By far the most important lesson to be learnt by these oceanic islands is the devastating effect that alien invasive fauna and flora have on our protected areas and environments within which we live. We know how bad alien invasive plants or animals can be to the endemic species within our respective countries, but nowhere has it ever been so blatantly obvious as to the devastating effects invasive aliens are having on indigenous or endemic species as observed in the Seychelles. Just one visit to a neighboring island during my stay at Cousin high lighted this point. Cousin Island Special Reserve can boast of  80 000 breeding pairs of Lesser Noddy, 1700 pairs of Brown Noddy, 4000 pairs of Fairy Terns, 600 Bridled Terns, 3000 pairs of White Tailed Tropic birds, 5000 pairs of Audubon’s Shearwaters and 14 000 pairs of Wedge-tailed Shearwater’s utilizing the island as a breeding ground over the year. This is simply due to the fact that there are no alien invasive mammalian predators such as cats and rats. However on an island such as Curieuse you will be lucky if you spot one of these birds nesting there let alone flying over. A very sad state of affairs just because of the presence of an alien rat!   

My stay as a visiting warden on Cousin Island Special Reserve has been an amazing learning experience which I was fortunate enough to obtain. Many thanks to both Nature Seychelles, South African National Parks and the Honary Rangers of SANParks for affording me this extraordinary opportunity.

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Our History

Since 1998.

Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

@CousinIsland Manager


Roche Caiman, Mahe

Contact Us

Centre for Environment & Education

Roche Caiman,

P.O. Box 1310, Mahe, Seychelles

Tel:+ 248 4601100

Fax: + 248 4601102