OTHER OUTER ISLANDS & THEIR FOUNDATIONS
We have registered foundations for each of the following sites. The ambition is that eventually these will all be active and there will be a network of islands conservation centres throughout the islands, exchanging information and staff for the benefit of conservation in Seychelles.
Remire & African Banks
African Banks lies almost 200 kilometres due west of Mahé’s southern tip and is the most northern island of the Amirantes. During the southeast trades, African Banks teems with seabirds. It holds the second largest surviving colony of Sooty Terns in the Amirantes and one of the few breeding sites for Roseate Tern, Crested Tern and Black-naped Tern in the western Indian Ocean. However, it suffers greatly from poaching and in recent years it is believed that nesting success of most birds has been very low. Rémire, to the south of African Banks has healthy colonies of Lesser Noddy and Wedge-tailed Shearwater despite the presence of rats. Rémire has an airstrip and is an access point for African Banks.
Poivre lies south of Rémire. The atoll consists of three islands: Poivre, South Island and Florentin. Poivre and South are joined at low tide by a man-made causeway. Florentin is named for the large numbers of Grey Herons found there (Florentin being the Creole name for this species). This is the largest atoll in the Amirantes group and although it was a coconut plantation before it was abandoned, in its early days its major production was cotton.
Marie Louise & Desnoeufs
Desnoeufs is famous in Seychelles as the main source of seabird eggs. Over a million pairs of Sooty Terns have been recorded here (though the present day population is about 600,000 pairs), along with large numbers of breeding Brown Noddy and Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Marie-Louise is also a haven for seabirds due to the absence of rats. There are significant numbers of Fairy Tern, Lesser Noddy and Brown Noddy, but precise data is lacking. Remarkably, it is the first island of Seychelles to be re-colonised by Red-footed Booby follwing a history of extinction on many islands since colonisation.
South of the Amirantes, it requires a journey of some 100 kilometres before the next landfall at Providence Atoll, a rather peculiar, long thin atoll oriented roughly north-south with Providence at its northern tip and Bancs du Providence at its southern extreme. The huge shallow lagoon attracts hundreds of Grey Herons, this being the only place in Seychelles where herons outnumber all other bird species. Black-naped Terns and possibly Roseate terns breed, but data is lacking.
South of Providence are the ten islands of Farquhar Atoll. Many of the trees of South Island have been turned white by the droppings of hundreds of Red-footed Boobies, which nest here. The southern tip of the atoll, Goelettes, is also the most southerly island of Seychelles. It is swept almost bare of vegetation by the strong southeasterly winds, but is a haven for seabirds, notably Sooty Terns, Roseate Terns and Black-naped Terns, a species that breeds only on coral atolls. In 2011, Aurelien Nahaboo of ICS discovered on Goelettes the first recorded colony of Lesser Noddy south of the Amirantes.
Due west of Farquhar Atoll lies Astove, part of the Aldabra Group. The coral reefs are largely intact and diving is excellent. Ashore, rats limit seabird interest, but landbirds include endemic races of Souimanga Sunbird and Madagascar White-eye.
Cosmoledo Atoll has Seychelles’ largest populations of Red-footed Booby, Masked Booby and Sooty Tern. It is also the last breeding site for Brown Booby, exterminated elsewhere in the islands. The diving at both locations is excellent and the marine life is very rich.
West of Cosmoledo is Assumption, an island laid waste by guano mining. This wiped out most of the bird life including Abbott's Booby, which now breeds only on Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. A small human population remains, connected by air to Mahé.