Supporting young local conservation talent as part of SYAH Seychelles' Blue Economy Internship Programme!
It was a pleasure for us to host Stana Mousbe on Silhouette Island as part of her experience on SYAH- Seychelles' Blue Economy Internship Programme.
The SIDS Youth AIMS Hub (SYAH) Seychelles - which is a youth-led NGO promoting sustainable development through youth-led projects - launched the Blue Economy Internship Programme initiative in 2016. This initiative serves to promote sustainable development opportunities for young people in the Blue Economy, by exposing them to opportunities within the existing framework. The programme enables Seychellois youth aged between 15 - 30 years old to undertake a two-week internship in different local organizations that fall within the Blue Economy sector. The programme introduces youth from all types of backgrounds to the myriad of career opportunities offered by the Blue Economy, and is open to youth from Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
The programme is now in its fourth year. ICS Seychelles has participated in all four iterations of the programme and is keen to support local conservationist talent wherever we can. Check out Stana's short vlog detailing what she got up to with our staffing team!
Our team on Desroches unearthed an exciting discovery recently!
Our Conservation Officer, Craig, found exuviae of a mystery dragonfly on blades of grass by the tortoise wallowing pool. As he watched the adult dragonflies zipping about the pool, he attempted to catch one to identify it, but they were too quick and would not stay still long enough for closer inspection. Craig was finally able to net one a couple of months later and confirm that this dragonfly was, in fact, the wonderfully named Ghost Duskdarter (Zyxomma petiolatum)!
According to our in-house experts, this is the first Seychelles record of Ghost Duskdarter outside of the inner islands that we are aware of. Described by John Bowler in his book, 'The Wildlife of Seychelles', the Ghost Duskdarter is known for its ‘rapid, darting flight low over water’ and is ‘rarely seen perched, so is hard to observe closely.’ These wonderful insects are also identifiable by their apple-green eyes and incredibly cryptic movements.
Between this and the discovery of Marsh Bluetails (Ischnura senegalensis) on the same pool this year, it would appear that an important micro-habitat is forming on Desroches, given that the wallowing pool is the only pool of its kind here!
By Desroches Island Conservation Officer, Craig Nisbet
Seychelles is a remarkable place for visiting birders throughout the year. It boasts an impressive list of endemic species; some of which may only be seen on a handful of islands. It also boasts some of the most spectacular seabird colonies in the world - particularly in the Outer Islands - where colonies of more than a million Sooty Terns can be found, as well as smaller numbers of boobies, frigatebirds, tropicbirds and other tern species. However, at this time of year - when the prevailing wind switches from the south-east to the north-west - many migrating birds in search of warmer locations after their breeding seasons in the northern hemisphere either head for these small isolated islands in the Indian Ocean, or are blown off course en route to their preferred wintering grounds in eastern and southern Africa. This means that from October onwards, the opportunity to discover new and unusual species in the region are increased dramatically.
St. François Research Expedition: Discovering Secrets of Red-footed Boobies and Greater Frigatebirds
The objective of our mission was to capture roosting seabirds on St François island and attach satellite tracking devices to them – quite a unique undertaking, as most tracking studies have focussed on breeding colonies where it is possible to check the attachment of the device and even retrieve it at a later date. Studying a non-breeding colony presents more of a challenge, but the resultant data should provide insight into their flight movements and the secrets of their preferred feeding grounds at sea.
On our most recent beach clean on Desroches Island in November, a total of 132.85kg was collected by our team and partners, which is encouragingly lower than previous months. This could reflect the change in the season, washing less rubbish ashore.
Miscellaneous items accounted for 74.45kg of the total amount of marine debris collected. Other prevalent items included: Glass (19.7kg), PET plastics (15.1kg) and Polystyrenes and styrofoam (10.2kg). Flip-flops accounted for 9.3kg, mooring buoys accounted for 2.1kg and ropes accounted for 1.7kg of all marine debris collected.
ICS Seychelles would like to thank the following partners for taking part and assisting in last month's beach clean: guests from Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island who spared a couple of hours of their holiday to contribute towards our clean-up efforts, the team at WASTEA for their logistical support, Kayleigh Hyslop from Blue Safari Seychelles and other individuals who joined the ICS team to sort the rubbish collected (which was completed in record time this month!).
Photos © Mila Sastradewi - Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island
We welcomed seven students and their Eco-School leader from Praslin Secondary School to Aride Island Special Nature Reserve on a one-day educational field visit last month!
We are currently recruiting for a Conservation Officer on Aride Island, on a full-time, fixed-term contract.
We are looking for a reliable, self-motivated and dynamic person to engage in a challenging conservation career. The Conservation Officer will be responsible for managing the ICS Conservation Centre on Aride Island, setting up baseline surveys and the implementation of programmes for biodiversity monitoring conservation and rehabilitation of the terrestrial and associated marine ecosystems.
Candidates must hold a degree in Environmental Science or a related field, with at least 2 years of relevant experience. A diving certificate will be considered as an added plus.
Initial 1 year contract, renewable.
For further details - including a job description and application form - please contact:
Phone enquiries to: (+248) 4375354
The deadline for all applications has been extended to Friday 15th November 2019.
42.5% of Collected Marine Debris Identified as PET Plastics and Flip-Flops in ICS-Organised Beach Clean-Up on Desroches
The growing problem of marine debris accumulation on the Outer Islands was highlighted in a clean-up organised by our team on Desroches earlier this year.
An incredible total of 284.6kg of marine debris was collected in a beach clean-up on the island, in what has been recorded as the most amount of marine debris collected on one day on the island. This links to the growing global issue of human-made marine pollution, which continues to serve as one of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans.
ICS teamed up with WiseOceans, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, the Islands Development Company (IDC), Blue Safari Seychelles and resort guests, to clean the 14km perimeter of the island. The clean-up was organised for the 4th June, during the week leading up to World Oceans Day (8th June).
An astonishing 80.1kg of plastic bottles and 41kg of flip-flops were the most remarkable figures from the mammoth sorting mission, with other categorised marine debris including: glass, polystyrenes and Styrofoam, mooring buoys, ropes and miscellaneous items. The 284.6kg of marine debris collected from this beach clean-up is 26kg more than the largest beach clean-up recorded on Desroches in 2018, indicating that the global problem of marine litter is as prevalent as ever.
Click here to read the full story, as reported earlier this month in The Nation.
By Aride Island Volunteer, Elena Levorato
Aride Island is well known for its high density of sea birds and skinks. However, countless invertebrates also inhabit the Island. We had the opportunity to help an MSc student, Kate Spence, on her Master project, where she undertook a food competition study between skinks, Seychelles Magpie Robins and mice. She took faeces samples to analyse the DNA between the different species. Over 100 different invertebrates were collected for meta-barcoding, in order to compare and understand what was in the diet of the skinks, magpies and mice.
During the day, we ventured into the forest - looking under the leaves, digging in the ground and turning rocks - searching for any kind of ‘creepy crawlies‘. Using gloves and sterilized tweezers, we collected whatever crossed our path (whenever we were able to catch them!). Caught individuals were conserved in ethanol, waiting for DNA analysis and identification. One morning, we even found an odd-looking worm which happened to be the Brahminy blind snake foraging under a rock.
When searching for nocturnal insects, we improvised a white screen trap, using a white blanket lit by a flashlight. We traversed the forest while being bitten by mosquitoes and successfully caught flying insects including moths, click beetles, weevils and many others. Participating in this project allowed us to discover the huge variety of small, often unnoticed inhabitants of the island!
By Gail Fordham (Alphonse)
ICS staff were delighted to wake up one morning in March earlier this year to find the enormous Ocean Zephyr research vessel moored on the eastern side of the Alphonse Atoll. The Nekton Mission aims to explore the remote deep waters of the Seychelles Outer Islands, using manned submersibles to reach depths of up to 500 metres. ICS staff were provided with a guided tour of the ship and explanations of the countless projects spearheaded by the Nekton Mission on this expedition, spanning from seabed mapping to investigations of fish spawning and predator diversity.
Later on in the week, After a briefing by hard coral expert, Rowana Walton, ICS Conservation Ranger Christopher Narty helped the mission with underwater video transects as part of the coral reef component of their research.
With just a few hours to spare between submersible deployments and other scientific activities on the ship, a shore transfer was arranged for the Nekton Mission's media team, who shot sequences capturing the conservation work of ICS on Alphonse for a possible six-part documentary.
It was a pleasure working with the Nekton team, and we look forward to seeing how both the scientific data generated by the mission and the public awareness it has raised, will aid in the broader mission for robust protection of the marine wilderness surrounding the Seychelles Outer Islands.