Turtle Season

Turtle season

During the 2012-13season, Cousin Island experienced the highest number of nesting female hawksbill turtles in recent years despite a late start to the nesting season. Although the season was seven months long, approximately half of nests were laid during November and December when up to 30 turtles were encountered on a single day. Such high numbers are obviously brilliant news for the turtle population nesting on Cousin Island, which is one of the world’s longest running hawksbill monitoring programmes- but meant a very exhausting few months for the volunteers and wardens of Cousin Island.

Turtle monitoring on Cousin is hard work but very worth it. It is incredible watching the entire nesting process and the amount of hard work that each individual puts into making sure her eggs are safe. From emerging out of the water and traversing often almost vertical sand during the hottest part of the day to digging often more than one hole, calmly laying her eggs and finally making sure they are covered before returning to the ocean. at all.

Turtle season

Turtles are a relic from the age of the dinosaurs, despite the nesting process being incredibly long (sometimes up to 3 hours) and life in the sea being risky. The resilience of the species cannot be disputed. This year we had a visit from an extraordinary turtle, affectionately known on the island as “Stumpy”. Her back right flipper was missing and a huge chunk was taken out of her carapace. This damage is thought to have been done by a shark; however this did not stop her natural instinct to lay. A tagged turtle throughout the season was encountered on average 3 times, however Stumpy attempted to lay 10 times. At first we thought she would never be able to complete the laying process, although her right flipper still did the perfect motion for digging an egg chamber – no sand was shifted. With a lot of help from volunteers scooping out sand she managed to dig an egg chamber and laid two nests.

It is incredibly interesting seeing the whole life cycle happen on Cousin Island. Sighting turtles mating in the waters around Cousin and watching females emerge to lay eggs on the island to hatchlings pouring out of their nest in their hundreds and then snorkelling and seeing juvenile turtles feeding around the island. It really brings home how important this small island in the Seychelles is for ensuring the continuation of this ancient species which has severely suffered at the hands of humans collecting individuals for their beautiful shells. We can only hope in the future there are more and more bumper years like this and the same turtles and their offspring keep returning.

Visit Cousin


Thinking off visiting Cousin? You should. This is why.

Thousands of visitor comments left behind are a testimony to the island's unique experience:

"National Geographic Live!"

"Fantastic island, fantastic birdlife, fantastic guide!"

"Keep doing your great work!"

"My Cousin is less interesting than this Island!"

Countless reviews have been written about the island in travel magazines and websites.

In 2003 Cousin won the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow 'Highly Commended' Award and the Conde Nast Traveller magazine Ecotourism (Destination) Award for 2004.

A survey in 2000 revealed that 98% of visitors found the eco tourism service of a very high standard, and 99% found the guided tour interesting, informative and well organised. In a 2006 survey over 96% of visitors graded the tour as either ‘highly satisfactory’ or ‘satisfactory’ and the tour length of approximately 1 hour 30 minutes was ‘about right’ for over 90% of visitors. The quality of guiding received positive feedback from 96% of visitors, many of whom made additional comments about the guides calling them "humorous, patient, knowledgeable, approachable..."

Still need more reasons to visit.

Go to the Discover menu for a little taste of the island or watch Cousin Island: A Conservation Success Story

Carbon Neutral Cousin

Carbon neutral cousinCousin Island has an ongoing programme to reduce its carbon footprint.

In recognition of the environmental impact of international visitors to the island, most of whom fly from Europe and reach the island by boat, Nature Seychelles which manages the island, has undertaken a rigorous approach to carbon neutrality. This has involved measuring all the emissions associated with the island, reviewing opportunities for on-going reductions and investing in high quality carbon credits.

In 2009, with the assistance of UK partner the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Carbon Clear a leading European carbon management company, was hired to assess the footprint of conservation and tourism activities on Cousin Island Special Reserve. Funding was received from the British High Commission in Seychelles to carry out the assessment.

The total emissions for Nature Seychelles’ activities on Cousin Island, including the allocations from visitor travel and the Nature Seychelles offices, in the calendar year 2008 amounted to approximately 1,569 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent – It represents the universal unit of measurement used to indicate the global warming potential (GWP) of all greenhouse gases).

However, incorporating emissions reductions of 211 tonnes (from CO2 sequestered by Cousin Island’s natural tropical vegetation) the final footprint prior to offsetting was calculated at 1,358 tonnes of CO2e.

The remainder of this footprint was offset using carbon credits from a clean cook stove project in Sudan reducing the Island’s emissions to net zero. It provides modern stoves to low-income families to replace their traditional 3-stone fires that rely on unsustainable wood sources. The modern stoves reduce greenhouse gas emissions by moving away from wood and charcoal to more efficient fuels and cook-stoves. The switch to efficient fuels also reduces indoor air pollution and improves health for the participating families. This programme is administered by local women’s cooperatives.

Why Carbon Credits?

Whilst managing the footprint to ensure that emissions are kept to an unavoidable minimum, for a small country like Seychelles, tourism is essential to the economy and given its remoteness, visitors can only arrive by aeroplane. Therefore, it is not possible to reduce these emissions directly and carbon offsetting is the most realistic option in these circumstances to mitigate impact.

Keeping Cousin carbon neutral is an on-going programme advised by Carbon Clear. Each year carbon credits are purchased through investment in verified projects in poor and developing countries. Two other projects in Indonesia and Brazil have been recipients of the carbon offsets funds so far. The Brazilian project prevents deforestation and protects the Cerrado Biome by using agricultural waste in place of deforested wood to fire community based ceramic kilns. The Indonesian project made a number of vital upgrades to an existing conventional power station coal to make it geo-thermal.

Download Cousin Carbon Neutral Leaflet