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Seychelles to have new research station on Aldabra Atoll and "Aldabra House" on Mahe

Victoria, Seychelles | May 18, 2024, Saturday @ 10:10 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4154
Seychelles to have new research station on Aldabra Atoll and "Aldabra House" on Mahe

The Aldabra Research Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary in June 2021. (David Stanley, Flickr) Photo License: CC BY 2.0

The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) will undertake the construction of the Aldabra House at Providence and rebuild the research station on the Aldabra Atoll in the coming months to improve its services.

The Royal Society, one of the oldest scientific societies in the world and also the United Kingdom's National Academy of Sciences, built the Aldabra research station during the colonial era, and work was completed in June 1971. The station is administered today by the SIF, a non-profit charitable organisation established as a public trust by the government of Seychelles in 1979.

SIF manages and protects Seychelles' two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the Aldabra Atoll and the Vallee de Mai Reserve on Praslin Island - the second most populated island.

The chairperson of the SIF board of trustees, Bernard Georges, told reporters, "There is a need to rebuild the station as there has been erosion at the site, and we now have to move the building."

Another reason for rebuilding the station is that there has been an increase in the number of people now living and working on the Aldabra.  

The chief executive of SIF, Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, said while the Foundation is contemplating moving the station due to the effects of climate change, "research has shown that this is the most vibrant place to have the station on Aldabra."

She said SIF will be carefully analysing the situation before making concrete decisions on the move.

Georges also spoke about the two settlements on Aldabra and said the old settlement was built when the island "was still being exploited for its wood fish and tortoises for employees to live in. Although it is now dilapidated, it can still be seen."

The Aldabra Atoll consists of four main islands, namely Picard, Polymnie, Malabar and Grande Terre.

Another construction that SIF will be undertaking this year is the Aldabra House, which will be built at Providence on the main island of Mahe. The previous plan to build the Aldabra House was cancelled in 2019.

With the board announcing that the project was being revisited, it is expected to be completed in 2025.

"We want to give people who will not have the chance to visit Aldabra, the chance to experience it on Mahe," said Georges.

He added that the building is expected to be an "iconic structure, that will house the SIF headquarters as well as provide accommodation for staff who are usually based on Aldabra."

At the time of conception, it was estimated that it would cost SIF $15 million to complete the building.

The CEO said, "Some money has already been set aside for the project, although we have also received some help from the CEPF Fund in the United States."

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is the largest in the world focused on conserving the planet's most biologically diverse and threatened ecosystems. It mobilises local, regional, and international partners to protect what nature provides for free to their communities.

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Tags: Seychelles Islands Foundation, UNESCO World Heritage sites, Aldabra House, Royal Society

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