|Seychelles Kestrel © Jeff Watson|
The conservation teams of Cousin Island Special Reserve (managed by Nature Seychelles) and Cousine island (privately owned) have joined forces to find new ways of taking action for their unique environments. It is part of a three-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank.
Genevieve Jorgensen of the Royal Danish Veterinary School has been studying Giant Tortoise diet.
Giant tortoises are fascinating creatures and are familiar to many people. Some people are lucky enough to have seen them in the wild, but they are also commonly kept in zoos. Although they seem to adapt well to captivity, there are gaps in our knowledge about tortoise health and nutrition. To help address this, myself and my colleague Beth Fledelius from the Royal Danish Veterinary School have been carrying out a study of tortoises on Aldabra. We have taken 45 blood samples from tortoises on one of the islands, and analysed these using portable equipment. We also collected food plants for analysis in Denmark, to calculate calcium content.
Dr Alan E Burger of University of Victoria, Canada, has been working for Nature Seychelles, and investigated why the Pisonia tree kills birds.
Pisonia tree fruiting © Alan Burger
The Mapou tree of Seychelles, known to science as Pisonia grandis, is widespread across the tropical Indo-Pacific. It is found most often on small islands that have seabird colonies, where it is often the dominant forest tree and provides favoured nesting sites for terns and noddies. Its seeds, produced in clusters of 50-200, exude a resin that makes them stick readily to feathers.
The IUCN Red List category of a number of bird species occurring in Seychelles was recently revised.In 2005, Seychelles Magpie-robin and Seychelles White-eye were all downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered. This is momentous news for conservation. It shows that conservation of birds and wider biodiversity is working, in the context of a global backdrop of widespread species declines and even extinctions. Stuart Butchart of the BirdLife International office in Cambridge, UK, explains how conservation status is worked out.