Silhouette is the third largest of the granitic islands of Seychelles (1,860ha). In 1987 the waters around Silhouette were declared a Marine Protected Area, and in 2010 93% of its terrestrial area was declared a National Park (3,045ha). The island is the second highest in Seychelles with Mont Dauban reaching 740m above sea level.
Silhouette Island is home to important biodiversity, including many species on the IUCN Red List of globally threatened species, such as the Seychelles Sheath-tailed bat (Coleura Seychellensis, Critically Endangered), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, Critically Endangered), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas, Endangered), the Seychelles Bizzie Lizzie plant (Impatiens gordonii, Critically Endangered), and some of the last remnants of old growth forest and lower montane rain forest in Seychelles.
Since 2011, The Island Conservation Society (ICS) has run a Conservation Centre on Silhouette to promote conservation and restoration of the island and conduct ecosystem monitoring programmes. ICS proposes and manages the conservation workplan which is approved and funded by the Silhouette Foundation. The Foundation, in turn, is a partnership between ICS, Seychelles Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa, Islands Development Company (IDC), Ministry of Environment and Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA).
The funding from CEPF will be used to strengthen conservation of both the Terrestrial and Marine National Parks of Silhouette Island by enabling us to fill gaps in our knowledge of this remarkable and somewhat mysterious island. A better understanding of the terrestrial and marine species and ecosystems will enhance the effectiveness and environmental sensitivities of our management strategies, provide guidance for how best to rehabilitate the habitats, promote sustainable tourism, and enhance local capacity and community infrastructure.
An over-arching goal of the CEPF project is to produce and implement a comprehensive and dynamic Conservation Management Plan for Silhouette Island National Park. Under the CEPF project various activities will be undertaken to strengthen the relationship between members of the Silhouette Foundation, and to help ‘kick-start’ crucial measures to improve the management of the Protected Area, in particular by building greater capacity to promote conservation amongst the various stakeholders.
During these first few months we have introduced the CEPF project to all the stakeholders on the island. Their response has been very positive and we look forward to working together to better protect our rare biodiversity in perpetuity.
Teesha Baboorun, Project Team Leader