In 2022, Nature Seychelles outplanted 4,000 coral fragments, grown in 4 underwater nurseries in the Cousin Island Special Reserve Marine Protected Area (MPA), according to the environmental NGO.
Take a moment to imagine yourself on a beach in unspoiled nature. As the sun rises over Praslin Island, the sky is painted in a myriad of stunning hues. Taking in the breath taking view, you realize that something is happening nearby. As you watch, dozens of tiny Hawksbill hatchlings appear from the sand. This is a spectacle that only a few lucky people ever experience. On Cousin Island Special Reserve, it started in mid-December 2022 to the delight of the turtle team monitoring this species.
In a previous article, we wrote about the effects of climate change on Cousin Island's turtle habitats and infrastructure. The turtle team continues to grapple with the problem of turtles emerging from the sea and being unable to find a suitable spot to nest because the beach is severely eroded. They either turn back because they can't climb steep slopes or nest below the tide line where their eggs are at risk of being washed away.
"This is one of the most critical blue carbon sites here in Kenya," says Mwanaharusi Mwafrika, the project coordinator of the Vanga Blue Forest Project, to an attentive audience of the Locally Empowered Area Protection (LEAP) project implementing partners drawn from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Seychelles. "We wanted to show you what a blue carbon ecosystem looks like and how it's being used to benefit the local community directly and indirectly.
Each time Athina Antoine is diving she looks for an individual coral from the genus pocillopora, which she outplanted in 2019 at Nature Seychelles' coral reef restoration site on Cousin Island Special Reserve. She says it's a symbol of hope for her. It reminds her that the effort she and her fellow Reef Rescuers are putting in to save the island's reefs is worthwhile.