Volunteers needed in Seychelles for Cousin Island turtle nesting programme
This is part of the established turtle monitoring programme on the island. (Nature Seychelles)
Young international candidates and Seychellois youth with an interest in conservation are being asked to join Nature Seychelles' programme on Cousin Island Special Reserve for the hawksbill season, which begins in October.
The chief executive of the non-profit organisation, Nirmal Shah, told SNA that "we are looking for people with the mental and emotional ability to apply as they will have to spend long hours alone on the beach when working on Cousin."
Nature Seychelles launched the call for nature lovers the world over, wishing to do their part to conserve the environment to join the progamme which will run for six months from October 2023 to April 2024.
This is part of the established turtle monitoring programme on the island, found about 2 km from Praslin, the second most populated island of Seychelles.
The programme has been in operation since 1972, making it one of the longest running monitoring programmes for hawksbill turtles in the world.
Shah explained that as a result "there are 800 times more turtles coming to Cousin since the programme has been implemented."
With the latest call for applicants to help in its continuing work on Cousin, Shah stressed that those interested must also be able to work in the country for three months as well as pay their own way to and in the country.
"These are volunteer positions, we are not paying people to take part, but they will instead acquire a wealth of knowledge and experience," he explained.
Shah added that since the progamme started "most of the candidates who take part are foreigners. Seychellois volunteers are also welcomed."
During the programme on Cousin, volunteers will carry out a series of tasks – which include the relocation of turtle nests.
"With climate change, the beaches on Cousin are changing, there are some nests that used to be in certain areas that are no longer there," said Shah.
"Hawksbill turtles are still critically endangered and the work being done on Cousin is crucial to their conservation," he added.
Due to the scientific nature of the work being carried out on the island, Shah also expressed his organisation's preference to have candidates with some knowledge of conservation and who may be able to compute the data they are collecting.
"It is good to have university students who will know how to analyse the information they are collecting," he said.
So far, Nature Seychelles has managed to fill some slots for the different months until March 2024 when the season ends but it is still open for the right candidates.