Flycatcher SOS

Hoping to nurse the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher off the world’s most endangered species list a coalition of conservation bodies have joined hands to embark on a three year Vev protection project.

The Paradise Flycatcher is set to benefit from increased protection efforts

The population of Paradise Flycatchers currently numbers little more than 200 birds and the species is very vulnerable as its range is limited to La Digue, prompting Seychellois and UK based conservation bodies to introduce a project worth over £200,000 to protect the birds.

Led by Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent and funded by the Darwin Initiative with the lead local organisation being Nature Seychelles, other project partners include the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR), Wildlife Vets International, RARE Pride, Denis Island and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Paradise Flycatcher is the last of Seychelles’ endemic birds to be listed on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, after work by, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Nature Seychelles, NGO’s and others has led to an upgrade in the status of the Seychelles Magpie Robin, Fody, White-eye and Scops Owl.

The rescue project is being led by, Rachel Bristol of Nature Seychelles, who said, “Seychelles has a proven track record of improving the status of endemic endangered birds. This coalition of local and international organisations means that we can now start work on safeguarding the future of the country’s last Critically Endangered bird species.”

As the Flycatcher is unique to La Digue the conservation team will focus considerable resources on ensuring that any measures put in place to protect the birds are approved by the local community.
The project will involve an assessment of the socio-economic importance of the Flycatchers to La Digue and to Seychelles, as part of an initiative to increase the importance placed on the conservation and protection of local ecosystems.
At its peak the Paradise Flycatcher was found on several islands including Praslin, Mariane, Felicite and La Digue but the breeding population is now limited to La Digue, where the pace of new developments on the island are increasing the pressure on the Vev population.

“The international partners have been very willing to get involved in this project, partly because they recognise that there is a limit to local capacity to undertake it, but also because they have seen how successful we have been at implementing previous projects to safeguard threatened species,” said Ms Bristol.

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