In our previous edition we introduced Silhouette Island, located 20km north of Mahe (Seychelles) and how the various stakeholders work together with the Island Conservation Society (ICS) to preserve the unique biodiversity of this Island.
One of them is the control of invasive species and how they enter the island to preserve the native flora and fauna. Before the project, there were no proper integrated plan and each stakeholder would do its own small control individually. Through the funds provided by CEPF the first drafts for a Pesticide Management Plan and a Biosecurity Protocol Plan for the Island have now been produced with the input of all stakeholders to harmonize and implement an efficient control at a bigger scale. At this stage ICS has already started the production of awareness materials and training of staff members from the various partners.
‘Since the start of the project communication with the stakeholders has improved a lot. The various meetings and interviews with the different consultants make them more aware of what’s happening and how conservation can be beneficial to them’ says Francois Baguette (Silhouette Island ICS Conservation Officer).
‘The different activities under the CEPF project help to plant the seed for an efficient management of the Silhouette National parks. The first deliverables have already taken the attention of our stakeholders and they are willing to help towards the success of the project’ says Francois.
In addition to the production of management plans, biodiversity surveys are also carried out by ICS staffs to reduce the gaps in knowledge about Silhouette endemic and rare species interaction.
‘The KBA surveys are very important for the team. We develop new skills in identification of various species and navigation, which is very important to find our way through the difficult forest of the island’ says Francois.
In early March 2017 the ICS Silhouette team undertook the first biodiversity Survey mission under the CEPF grant in the wild forest of Silhouette Island. During 2 days they explored the North West part of the Island. It was a fruitful and very exciting survey for the team.
After 2 days of walk the team was rewarded by the first ever sighting of Asplenium petiolulatum on Silhouette Island! This species of fern is very rare in Seychelles and is now know from 4 individuals only. We also got the chance to see different key and very rare species as the Trilepisium gymnandrum (Critically Endangered; know from less than 50 individuals) and Colea seychellarum (Endangered).
Finally, in order to share these discoveries with the public, ICS is actively posting news on its blog, facebook page and in the newspaper.
Teesha Baboorun (CEPF ICS Project leader) says: ‘Creating awareness is one of our main objective. Apart from the production of materials for the dissemination of media, we encourage visit from school children to our Conservation Centre on Silhouette. The first part of the CEPF project was very productive and we are looking forward to carry out the next activities!’
By Teesha Baboorun – CEPF Project Leader
Island Conservation Society Seychelles