Foundations have been formed for partnerships on all IDC islands, dormant foundations have been created for other islands with a view to inviting other stakeholders to participate if and when there is funding to support conservation. It is hoped that in the long term there will be a network of conservation centres across the islands, collecting and sharing date that will be of enormous value to conservation in Seychelles and beyond. Dormant foundations are Assumption Foundation, Cosmoledo and Astove Foundation, Marie-Louise and Desnoeufs Foundation, Platte Foundation, Poivre Foundation, Providence Foundation and Remire and African Banks Foundation.
Platte (54 ha) is a small isolated island 140 kilometres south of Mahe. Poivre Atoll (394 ha), Marie Louise (53 ha), Desnoeufs (35 ha), African Banks (30 ha) and Remire (27 ha) all lie within the Amirantes Group to the west and south of the granitic islands, between 200 and 300 kilometres from Mahe. A further 300 kilometes south of the Alphonse group, Providence consistes of one large island in the north separated by shallow waters from several smaller islands in the south covering about 230 ha in total. Astove (661 ha) and Cosmoledo (460 ha) lie about 1,040 kilometres southwest of Mahe. Astove is a single island almost completely enclosing a central lagoon, while Cosmoledo comprises about 19 islands.
The outer islands of Seychelles were probably known to travellers even in the earliest days of human history of the Indian Ocean, but they were not ‘on the map’ until the Portuguese began to explore the region. Still for centuries there was still much confusion. The Amirantes and Farquhar appeared under a variety of names often in the wrong place. Some ghost islands that never existed were charted. The French established the first primitive settlements from the early 19th century, to exploit turtles, seabirds and timber. However, it was not until 1822, after Britain had taken control of the islands, that Captain Moresby, commanding H.M.S. Menai was sent to accurately chart these “little known islands and erroneously laid down islands”. By the 1860s, coconuts had become Seychelles’ only commercial crop. Coconuts came to cover almost all the outer islands. Some islands were also exploited for their deposits of guano, removing the vegetation and top soil so that within a short time islands such as St. Pierre and Assumption were ecologically devastated. Islands with smaller deposits were excavated on a more piecemeal scale and the damage was less severe. After independence in 1976, the government parastatal Islands Development Company was formed to manage the government owned islands. The emphasis remained on copra production until this became commercially unviable. Today, the emphasis is on tourism with all visitors paying a levy towards conservation work in the islands.
All these islands have breeding populations of Hawksbill and Green Turtles. Together they support globally important breeding populations and have vital foraging grounds for adults and juveniles. Cosmoledo, Marie Louise, Desnoeufs and African Banks have been designated as Important Bird Areas due to large numbers of breeding seabirds, especially at Cosmoledo where there are Seychelles largest colonies of Masked Booby and Brown Booby. The entire African region's breeding population of Black-naped Tern breed in these outer islands. There are few land birds, but Cosmoledo also has an endemic race of Madagascar White-eye, Zosterops maderaspatana menaiensis. The reef flats are feeding areas for herons and migrant waders including Crab Plovers, a speciality of the region. The marine waters and associated reefs of all these islands are important ecosystems and the coral reefs of Astove and Cosmoledo in particular are renkowned as being among the most spectacular in the world.
Foundations have been formed for partnerships on all IDC islands. Dormant foundations have been created for other islands with a view to inviting other stakeholders to participate if and when there is funding to support conservation. These are Assumption Foundation, Cosmoledo and Astove Foundation, Marie-Louise and Desnoeufs Foundation, Platte Foundation, Poivre Foundation, Providence Foundation and Remire and African Banks Foundation. More details on some of the projects conducted in these islands can be found at these links:
It is hoped that in the long term there will be a network of conservation centres across the islands, collecting and sharing data that will be of enormous value to conservation in Seychelles and beyond. In the meantime, conservation work is conducted when funds are available and when opportunities arise.