The Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles is currently implementing a wetland biodiversity assessment at Grand Police, located in the south of Mahe, Seychelles. Wetlands host huge species diversity and are considered as one of the biologically most diverse ecosystems on our planet.
Being the largest remaining, untouched freshwater wetland in the whole of Seychelles, Grand Police is of high ecological significance for the preservation of a variety of endemic plant and animal species. Several are Critically Endangered such as two species freshwater terrapin, the yellow-bellied and black mud turtles, which have reduced populations of 120 and 660 respectively. Even though Grand Police is recognized as a Key Biodiversity Area, it is earmarked for development.
The primary objective of the project is to document precise inventories of the current biodiversity and to provide guidelines in order to minimize the environmental impact on this ecosystem during any development.
After four months, current progress has been good with a draft habitat map of the wetlands produced from over 1000 images from drone surveys; this was classified in GIS and ground-truthed by the survey team. Intensive trapping within the wetland area has been carried out with, special attention to species endemic to Seychelles of high conservation / KBA value and also species that are invasive to Seychelles. Assessment of distribution and abundance of species is currently underway and already several endemic species have been found that are new to the KBA including a fruit fly, an Endangered grasshopper, a skink and a caecilian as well as the Critically Endangered black mud turtle.
Work in the coming months will focus on the mapping of species distribution and monitoring of physical environmental parameters such as light exposure, pH and salinity, as well as the first stages of information collation for the guidance outputs.
David Rowat, Director
Marine Conservation Society Seychelles
PO Box 384, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
Tel: (+248) 4248 356