Celebrating momentous numbers in 2018 at Nature Seychelles

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In 2018 we’re all about numbers at Nature Seychelles. 50 years since Cousin Island Special Reserve became a protected nature reserve and 20 years of the existence of Nature Seychelles as a conservation organisation, the BirdLife partner in Seychelles.

In 1968, RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) bought Cousin Island to save the then critically endangered Seychelles Warbler. There were only 26 individuals of this bird left in the world on one island, Cousin. Now, this endemic bird has been downgraded from critically endangered to near threatened on IUCN’s Red List of endangered species, a first in bird conservation.

The population of the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis), which once had the dubious distinction of being one of the rarest birds in the world, is now 115 times what it was over three decades ago with a population of over 3000 birds spread over 5 islands. Intensive conservation efforts have ensured this endemic bird did not vanish completely.

After 50 years of conservation efforts, the Seychelles Warbler is the bird that saved an Island from being an ecologically impoverished coconut plantation to what is now a thriving ecosystem – a nearly pristine forest, home to many iconic and endemic land and seabirds and the single most important nesting sites in the Western Indian Ocean region for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle.

In 1998 Nature Seychelles took over the management of Cousin Island and has since expanded its mandate from bird conservation to marine conservation and most recently launched the world’s first Conservation Boot Camp, a program that gives participants hands-on learning experience by taking part in the varied conservation activities on Cousin Island.

To celebrate our milestones, Nature Seychelles will in 2018 be offering a 25% discount on the registration fees for the Conservation Boot Camp program to participants of African Nationality  under the African Heritage package. Additionally, staff of other BirdLife International Partners outside of Africa will receive the same discount.

“We would like to showcase a successful  conservation program on an African nature reserve that our sisters and brothers in other African countries can hopefully learn from while sharing in the belief that we can save species in our lifetime,”  says Dr Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive. “We also want to introduce Cousin Island Special Reserve, which BirLlife calls ‘one of the world’s great conservation success stories’ to our colleagues working in the Birdlife Partnership.

Following feedback from past and potential participants, the program will also be open to applicants who wish to enrol for a two week session. Some participants cannot take a whole month away from their busy schedule making this ideal, albeit not as immersive into the program.

“We at Nature Seychelles are optimistic about conservation and environmental protection in general. Indeed, these are very exciting times for us and we want to share our enthusiasm with others. We hope as many people as possible can take advantage of these phenomenal offerings and join us in our conservation ventures,” Shah says.

For more information visit www.natureseychelles.org

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.