What is Cousin Island?

Cousin Island

Cousin is a 27ha granitic island located 2 km west of Praslin Island in the Republic of Seychelles. It is a protected area under Seychelles law.

It became the first ‘sea and island reserve” in the Indian Ocean and the world’s first internationally owned protected area when it was declared a Nature Reserve by the Seychelles Government in 1969 following its purchase and conversion from the coconut enterprise.

Further protection was afforded to it when it became a Special Reserve in 1975. The National Parks and Nature Conservancy Act 1969 states that a Special Reserve is ‘an area, which the characteristic wildlife requires protection and which all other interests and activities are subordinate’. The Special Reserve area includes the surrounding marine waters up to 400 meters offshore in all directions around the island.

It is an IUCN Protected Area Category 1a, which is a strict nature reserve where people's visits and their impacts are strictly controlled to ensure protection of the conservation values. It is designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) an area recognized as being of global importance for the conservation of birds and is one of the sites of highest ornithological interest in Seychelles.