Conservation teams from Cousin Island Special Reserve and the privately-owned nature reserve and 4 luxury villa retreat Cousine, its near neighbour, met on Monday 11 April on Cousine island. The meeting resulted in a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed by the two island Managers, Joel Souyave of Cousin, and Jock Henwood of Cousine. The MOU sets out the areas of conservation work on which the islands will now work in partnership, for the benefit of Seychelles wildlife conservation and eco-tourism.
Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK are surveying the reefs around Cousin island, in a joint project with Nature Seychelles. The Newcastle team first carried out a study on Cousin in 1994, and again just after the coral bleaching event of 1998. The bleaching was caused by rising sea temperatures and resulted in widespread coral reef disintegration in Seychelles and elsewhere.
Cousin Island Special Reserve is recognised as a leading example of genuine eco-tourism and small island conservation management that demonstrably works. We aim to share this expertise globally, and also to draw upon the knowledge and experience of others to help our local staff. To do this we have created a scheme we’ve called the Experience Exchange Programme.
Nature Seychelles has received funding from a foundation in the United States that has enabled the purchase and installation of modern and purpose-built demarcation buoys around the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Cousin Island Special Reserve.