[ROCHE CAIMAN DECEMBER 23rd 2008] “We will not abandon you.” This was the message given by the CEOs of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Graham Wynne and Michael Rands of Birdlife International when they visited Seychelles in mid-December 2008

The message was given on the eve of the opening of the grand international symposium, “Coconuts to Conservation: Celebrating 40 years on Cousin Island Special Reserve”, by the CEO of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Graham Wynne.

These comforting words were also echoed by his counterpart from Birdlife International Dr Michael Rands, both of whom are here in Seychelles courtesy of the dynamic conservation work undertaken by Nature Seychelles under the leadership of the relentless Seychellois conservationist Nirmal Shah. The triumvirate of the CEOs was addressing a well attended historic press conference at the Roche Caiman Headquarters of Nature Seychelles. 

The three CEOs were candid as they faced the press and fielded engaging questions on a wide range of issues covering the global economic crunch, Seychelles new fiscal policies and emerging threat posed by climate change to Small Island States like Seychelles.

“We are proud of what Seychelles has achieved in the conservation fields in the last forty years that we have been partnering for conservation. There is no doubt Seychelles is an incredibly beautiful country and much of it is courtesy of the active conservation work that has been undertaken over the years. For taking conservation early and pursuing it seriously, Seychelles has saved a lot in terms of finances, ecological balance and human resources.” Says Wynne.

The CEO’s agreed in principle that taking conservation early was cost effective and easily manageable as opposed to adopting it late during critical times. They further revealed why they use birds as flagship species. 

“Birds are most often the thermometers showcasing the pulse of our environment. They are also easily identifiable and make good and catchy slogans for conservation, that is we use them to rally important conservation messages.” Rands explained.
“Nature Seychelles is using its international partners to gain experiential training and leverage expertise for the general benefit of Seychelles. We are proud to host RSPB and Birdlife CEOs here for the first time. We have been at the forefront of great conservation success stories ranging from the saving from extinction of Seychelles warblers, Paradise flycatchers, magpie robins to triumphs in marine protected areas management and great accomplishments in restoration of natural habitats. These successes are due to the tri-partite cooperation between the government of Seychelles, NGOs and the international partners.” Nirmal explained.

The visiting CEOs paid tribute to the sterling conservation work undertaken by Nature Seychelles and promised to not only continue working with Nature Seychelles but to increase their level of support and commitment to safeguarding Seychelles flora and fauna.
“We are aware of the conflicts arising from development needs versus conservation endeavours and we will always be there to support and cushion Seychelles at all times.” Rands asserted. [ends]

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