School environmental representatives – teachers who are the focal points for environment in schools – from Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette took part recently in a half-day visit to Cousin island, a world-famous bird reserve.
Cousin Island Special Reserve has become the first IBA - Important Bird Area - branded site in the Seychelles and the Western Indian Ocean region. The IBA branding states publicly that Cousin island is of outstanding value for bird conservation. IBAs are sites of global importance for birds and their conservation, defined and listed by BirdLife International, the world authority on birds.
Cousin Island Special Reserve has recorded a phenomenal eight-fold increase in abundance of nesting hawksbill turtles since the early 1970s based on new analysis of data, a scientific paper published in the Endangered Species Research journal has revealed. The increase is directly attributed to the ongoing turtle conservation program on Cousin started in 1972.
"A SMALL black-and-white bird lands in front of me in a clearing in the forest. It hops about on the ground almost within touching distance, eyeing me curiously but seemingly unafraid, before vanishing in a flurry of wings. I have just had my first sight of a Seychelles magpie robin, one of the rarest animals on Earth. My encounter happened on Cousin Island, 29 hectares of glittering white sand and forest in the middle of the Indian Ocean."
The first record of Bulwer’s Petrel in the Seychelles has now been verified and authenticated. The sighting was made on June 15, 2009 by David Andrews, and Jennifer Love and Martyn Hammers on Cousin Island. The bird was later captured and ringed. Photographs, measurements and ring details were provided to the Seychelles Bird Records Committee for identification and authentication.