Ever aware of the importance of creating links between conservation driven bodies the world over, Nature Seychelles enjoys close ties with a diverse range of non-governmental organisations, universities and other environmentally focused groups in many different countries.
And while some of our strongest links are with partner organisations based in the Indian Ocean islands and the ocean’s East African rim, geographic proximity is far from being the defining factor in the importance placed on these international partnerships.
One of Nature Seychelles most valued links is with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent.
DICE has been involved in the work of Nature Seychelles and, more broadly, in the cause of conservation in Seychelles, for several years and is now the lead organisation in a project to safeguard the future of the IUCN Red Listed Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher.
A range of local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, are taking part in the project, in which Nature Seychelles is playing a leading role.
The entire population of 200 Paradise Flycatcher is found only on the island of La Digue, where the pressure of human development and the threat of an unforeseen environmental catastrophe have spurred Nature Seychelles, DICE and the other stakeholders to initiate the three year “Investing in Island Biodiversity: Restoring the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher” project.
Nature Seychelles staff member Terrence Vel has already benefited from three months training for a diploma in Environmental Education at the University of Kent and is now putting his new found skills to use as a key member of the Paradise Flycatcher rescue team.
The assistance of DICE in spearheading this project will be invaluable in ensuring its successful outcome. But it is far from being the only significant contribution that the institute has made to conservation in Seychelles:
- In December 2006 staff from DICE visited the Education and Environment Centre to run another week long workshop, this time targeted at broadening skills in conservation management.
The “Facilitators Training Course for Conservation Management” taught participants, who again came from a wide range of local environmental organisations, how to negotiate between the sometimes conflicting pressures from people and the environment.
- Jim Groombridge of DICE led a Nature Seychelles backed project to assess the genetic diversity
DICE lecturer, Dr Jim Groombridge is accompanied by Nature Seychelles staff and a group of curious children while handling a kestrel
The project is of particular importance to small island states, such as Seychelles, where the population size of many endemic bird species has fluctuated, sometimes to below 100 individuals.
- Postgraduate students under DICE supervision at the University of Kent have also been involved in Nature Seychelles projects. Most recently a University of Kent Masters student carried out a survey of the eco-tourism product offered on Cousin Island Special Reserve.
The findings, which were overwhelmingly positive, are already being used to bolster both the Cousin visitors’ experience and the priority concern given to the island’s fauna and flora.
- James Hardcastle and Dao Ngyuen, two members of staff who spent two years working with Nature Seychelles under a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project, were both DICE graduates. Links between DICE and Nature Seychelles helped us identify two strong candidates, who were able to contribute greatly to the work of Nature Seychelles.
As a dynamic, national level ngo Nature Seychelles is always keen to build bridges with other conservation bodies committed to furthering environmental protection and education.
Our links with DICE are one of the most outstanding examples of the results which can be achieved through successful international partnerships.