Cousin and Cousine Islands sign historic conservation agreement

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.

Under the terms of the agreement, a number of areas for collaboration have been identified and consolidated. The teams will now hold regular discussions on joint activities, provide mutual support to eco-tourism activities, develop a common research programme that makes maximum use of the time and expertise of visiting researchers, allow for comparative studies, and the exchange of ideas and resources.

Cousin Island and Cousine (back) © Lyanne Brouwer

“The activities will be set out under a joint Systems Plan to be developed, which will bring together the common conservation programmes of the two islands” says James Hardcastle, Technical Advisor with Nature Seychelles, who is assisting the island managers.

‘It makes a lot of sense for us to integrate the islands’ management plans, and learn from each other’, said Jock Henwood of Cousine  ‘Although we are very close neighbours, in the past we haven’t been able to make the time to get to know each other and our different operations. It’s been a bit of a case of ‘so near, yet so far’, you could say. One of the exciting things about this MOU and the Systems Plan is that we can now bridge the gap and overcome that, which should have benefits for everyone.’ he added.  

“We understand that this is the first time that a Systems Plan  for different conservation sites will be set up and operational in Seychelles . It is indeed an historic occasion”, said Kerstin Henri of Nature Seychelles, Coordinator of the project.

‘We have already been able to share a lot of experience and expertise’, said Joel Souyave, Manager of Cousin Island Special Reserve. ‘Obviously there are differences in our respective operations, but there are principles and practices that are common to us both. We have already picked up some really useful practical tips, and we can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the conservation work we do by joining together in a planned manner where it makes sense to do so.’

Nature Seychelles, 15April 2005

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