New management plan for reserve in Seychelles that protects paradise flycatcher
The paradise flycatchers are currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of critically endangered species. (Jeff Watson, Nature Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A new management plan for La Digue Veuve Special Reserve is being written to promote sustainable tourism, recreation and scientific activities while also protecting the Seychelles paradise flycatcher.
Currently, in its draft stage, the 'La Digue Veuve Special Reserve Management Plan 2020-2024' will replace an outdated 25-year-old version. The public can provide their views on the document by July 24 at the Veuve Special Reserve Visitors Centre at Anse Reunion, La Digue, the third-most populated island.
The Veuve Special Reserve, which is part of a 200-hectare plateau on the western side of La Digue, protects the wildlife habitats and plant species. Managed by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), the reserve provides a breeding and feeding habitat for the rare endemic bird species, the Seychelles paradise flycatcher population on the island. The reserve is open to visitors.
"The intent of the plan is to guide the wise management of the La Digue Veuve Special Reserve to ensure it achieves its primary purpose of providing an area of protected and safe high-quality breeding and feeding habitat for the Seychelles paradise flycatcher on La Digue," said Rachel Bristol, the consultant.
|The Veuve Special Reserve, which is part of a 200-hectare plateau on the western side of La Digue, protects the wildlife habitats and plant species. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY|
The paradise flycatchers found only in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, are currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of critically endangered species. This species has an extremely small range and probably only one viable population persisting on an island where there has been a continuing decline in habitat.
Bristol who is an independent conservation biologist also told SNA that the plan is being developed with wide stakeholder consultation.
Following the public review, feedback will be included in the management plan which is expected to come into effect in January 2021.
The draft of the plan outlines that lack of control over access to the reserve, invasive alien species, lack of interpretation or information provided to visitors, and lack of marketing are some of the main challenges being faced.
The draft reads that "1321 visitors were recorded visiting the reserve from July to December 2019, however, this is likely an underestimate as not all visitors would have entered the reserve via the Visitor Centre as there are numerous unmonitored entrances into the reserve."