Biosecurity Training Hits The Hotspot
Silhouette Island in the Seychelles inner grantics is known as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the richest in the Indian Ocean. Many of Seychelles’ 85 endemic plant species are found here. BirdLife International recognises the island as an Important Bird Area with habitat for some of Seychelles’ iconic terrestrial species as well as migratory seabirds. Silhouette is also home to the world’s largest colony of the critically endangered Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat.
Silhouette Island is 93% National Park, its surrounding waters designated a Marine National Park due to its abundant biodiversity and unique natural environment. New and rare species are still being discovered. New threats also are emerging. Dynamic conservation management is an urgent priority for the island.
In this vein, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) recently funded a workshop aimed at developing a new biosecurity program for Silhouette Island.
Seventeen local participants from Islands Development Company (IDC), Island Conservation Society (ICS) and Hilton Labriz Seychelles Resort and Spa recently spent a day learning about the vital role of biosecurity practices to the island.
Training focused on identifying biodiversity risks and highlighted the threats posed by invasive species. Activities included a quiz and the opportunity to design an Entry Protocol for the La Passe Jetty, the main point of arrival onto the island. Trainers Wilna Accouche and James Millet delivered the course jointly in Creole and English. Participants engaged enthusiastically and have already requested advanced training once the program is in place.
Under the GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer Islands Project (OIP), biosecurity training is also being undertaken for the more remote islands of Desroches, Alphonse, Farquhar and Poivre. Despite their seeming isolation, these islands are also highly vulnerable to threats from invasive species, along with unsustainable development and resource management practices. The Outer Islands Project Coordination Unit (PCU) is working in close collaboration with CEPF to produce brochures, posters, banners and signage highlighting biosecurity issues and solutions.
A big thank you goes to CEPF for funding this important work, and to Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa, IDC and ICS for empowering their staff to participate in this project for the conservation of Seychelles’ natural environment and beautiful Silhouette Island.
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