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Cousin Island of the Seychelles is the perfect marriage between tourism and conservation

Cousin Island of the Seychelles is the perfect marriage between tourism and conservation ( Cousin Island is a perfect example of a successful marriage between conservation and tourism. Nature Seychelles, which manages the special reserve, is promoting the island`s eco-tourism as a vehicle to finance conservation. Cousin Island`s slogan is “the island that belongs to birds, human are welcome,” and it has one of the nature reserves in Seychelles that can bring in more visitors, but because it is a reserve, the numbers are controlled through a strict measure of closing down the island in the afternoon and weekends.

“It is only through a high quality of tourism that Cousin Island can maintain its tourism reputation as one of the prime eco-tourism destinations in the western Indian Ocean region,” said Dr. Nirmal Shah, the Chief Executive Officer of Nature Seychelles.

The non-governmental nature conservation organization wanted to share with Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, the island`s conservation policy in remaining unbeaten in the league of the best protected little island in the world, using eco-tourism for conservation to generate revenue.

Minister St.Ange, who visited the reserve in the company of Dr. Nirmal Shah; Kerstin Henri; Benjamine Rose, the Principal Secretary for Culture; and Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, was taken on a guided tour by Christopher Mahoune, the young Seychellois warden at the heart of the island`s reserve sanctuary.

In their natural habitat, the “million dollar birds”, the Seychelles Magpie Robin, co-exists with the Seychelles warblers, the Seychelles Blue Pigeon, and countless endemic species. After his visit, Minister St.Ange said that Cousin Island had developed the art of managing a reserve that belongs to the birds where human can visit as guests. Although Cousin Island is constantly receiving a high inflow of yacht charters mooring at its shores, Nature Seychelles claims that the impact from tourism is at the low to zero level. Dr. Nirmal Shah highlighted that “no boats are allowed to land on Curieuse Island; they are all moored outside coral reefs, and it is the Nature Seychelles rangers who are mandated to transfer visitors from their respective charters or yachts to and from the island."

The impact is further controlled on the island trails and its biodiversity through guided tours by Cousin Island designated rangers, restricting visitors from roaming alone on the island. Cousin Island is described by Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, as the ideal eco-tourism destination where human presence does not interfere with the island`s efforts to preserve its fragile eco-system. Dr. Nirmal Shah expressed his organization`s satisfaction with the visit of Cousin Island by Minister St.Ange.

“Dr. Shah suggested that I be better acquainted with the conservation work Nature Seychelles is doing. Because of his persistence I visited Cousin Island, and today I can say that I was over impressed with what I saw on Cousin Island. The management and staff are all conscious of their responsibilities, and they deliver for Seychelles a sanctuary for our flora and fauna, and they remain an example to the world of how they are managing a nature reserve that remains the perfect marriage between tourism and conservation," Minister Alain St.Ange said.


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