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Southern Africa Rapid Response Grant

Supporting management effectiveness and improve socio-economic resilience in the Cousin Island Special Reserve, Republic of Seychelles

Privately protected area Conservancy Key biodiversity area
Management effectiveness Livelihoods
Local communities Youth Private sector
Enforcement Livelihoods/Alternative economic activities Eco-tourism
49,972.91 EUR Seychelles, Southern Africa January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2021

Protected and conserved area(s) concerned

Cousin Island Special Reserve, 555643555

The BIOPAMA AC Objectives addressed

  • Enhance the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations.

Priority need addressed

Additional financing facing the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project activities

The project aims to assist rectifying the shortfall in financing due to the collapse of the tourism industry in the Seychelles as a result of COVID-19. It will do this primarily by funding the salaries of 8 Wardens, 1 Island Coordinator and 1 Science Officer to ensure that they can remain stationed on the island and continue to carry out a variety of conservation activities including monitoring, marine & terrestrial patrols, census activities as well as eco-tourism activities such as guided tours of the reserve. As the conditions improve, the project also aims to see the re-establishment of the Conservation Boot Camp, a course managed by Nature Seychelles on Cousin Island which gives participants experience with in-the-field conservation activities. The Cousin Island Special Reserve contributes to many livelihoods of the locals based on the nearby Praslin Island in two ways – firstly by increasing the number of tourist visitors to Praslin, and secondly by allowing local tour operators to ferry visitors to Cousin Island, a service that they charge for. 

The change the project implementation will bring for the protected area(s)

The project is key in providing relief and give Cousin Island Special Reserve precious time to explore alternative financing models to diversify its resilience, such as a proposal with Huawei via IUCN to enable it to establish virtual tourism solutions. Without the project, the pressures of the pandemic would be much greater – realistically leading to either a reduction of staff on the island or a closure. Either of the two would lead to a reduction in management effectiveness of the privately managed reserve, and open it up to poaching such as that which has been seen on nearby islands – primarily seabirds and hawksbill turtles, both of which nest on Cousin Island. In the past there have also been instances of fishing within the protected marine area surrounding Cousin Island, of both fish and sea cucumbers which are prized for their commercial value in the export market.

Download the project infofiche.

Implementing organisations

Nature Seychelles

Photo credits: Serge Marizy; Kara Beggs.

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