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News updates from Cousin Island

10
July
2015

My first week as a volunteer on Cousin Island

A report from Nature Seychelles’ International Volunteer program

 Tourists arriving on Cousin

I discovered Cousin Island Special Reserve whilst searching for a project which would allow me to get up close and personal with seabirds in the wild and I certainly found that on this special nature reserve. 

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Volunteering, Nature People

03
July
2015

My second family on a beautiful isolated island

A report from Nature Seychelles’ International Volunteer Programme

 Christmas tree, cousin-style

Volunteering with Nature Seychelles on Cousin Island Special Reserve is not always the easiest job around. Having lived here on this beautiful yet isolated island for over four months this year I have missed out on many family oriented holidays. For example Christmas and New Year’s with all of my family in South Africa is always a time for many celebrations and festivities. To top it off, today it’s my birthday.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Volunteering, Nature People

25
June
2015

Sunny days ahead for a rare robin

A report from Nature Seychelles’ International Volunteer Programme

 The Seychelles Magpie Robin is an attractive bird with a beautiful song by Martijn Hammers

As a volunteer on Cousin Island Special Reserve, I feel privileged to have interacted with the Seychelles Magpie Robin (Copsychus sechellarum), a remarkable success story for the island and indeed, for Seychelles. Once found in respectable numbers on several islands, by 1970 this curious bird endemic to the Seychelles, was down to only 23 individuals due to predation by cats and rats, as well as reduced feeding habitat.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Birds, Volunteering, Nature People

11
June
2015

A turtle's tale

A Report from Nature Seychelles' International Volunteer Program

 Hawksbill turtle nesting on Cousin Island

The Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a relatively small species of marine turtles inhabiting tropical waters around the world. Hawksbills are classified as critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. 

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Turtles, Volunteering

08
June
2015

Triumphs and tragedies in paradise

A Report from Nature Seychelles' International Volunteer Program

  With no predators on Cousin Island, tourists can get very close to birds, a treat for many who visit the island

As a ‘veteran’ volunteer of Cousin Island turtle season, I have been able to witness some of the most incredible wildlife spectacles. For example, watching turtles as they emerge from the water to embark on their journey to lay their eggs, then later observing what seemed to me, millions of hatchlings scattered all over these stunning beaches as they instinctively make their way to the ocean. The knowledge that they too will one day return to the same beach to lay their eggs is mind blowing!

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Birds, Volunteering, Nature People, Seabirds, Wildlife

04
May
2015

Invasive species management on an island paradise

Volunteers spend a considerable amount of time controlling invasive species

Volunteers spend a considerable amount of time controlling invasive species

Cousin Island Special Reserve is a magnificent place, home to a variety of seabirds, endemic landbirds and the most important nesting site for Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Western Indian Ocean. However, much time and effort has been needed to make this a biological hotspot in the Seychelles.  

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Volunteering, Nature People

23
April
2015

Monitoring the next generation of Seabirds in Seychelles

 

The white or fairy tern is pure white - by Peter Chadwick

One of the many exciting volunteer tasks on Cousin Island Special Reserve is monitoring the resident breeding seabirds. During the past two months we have been monitoring the elegant white tern (Glygis alba), and the ferocious looking white-tailed tropic bird (Phaethon lepturus).

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Research, Birds, Nature People, Seabirds, Wildlife

16
April
2015

Shark Tales from Cousin Island

One of the best things about volunteering on Cousin Island Special Reserve is to snorkel in a marine protected area. Although a lot of the coral is dead due to the El Niño, there is still an amazing array of marine life, from the beautiful tropical fishes to the graceful hawksbill turtles. My favorite animals in the sea are the sharks.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Volunteering, Marine

31
March
2015

Turtle news is so last month!

As the turtle season draws to a close and the number of Hawksbill turtle sightings diminishes, we’ve had to find other things to get excited about. At the beginning of March we happened to stumble across a Seychelles blue pigeon (Alectroenas pulcherrima) nest, whilst greeting visitors at the beach shelter. A fairly simple nest by most birds standards, but still secure enough to keep the tiny chick safely seated in the branches, patiently waiting to be fed. The Seychelles blue pigeon feeds on a variety of small to medium sized fruits and seeds, including figs and cinnamon, which it swallows whole, regurgitating a milk-like substance to the young chick on returning to the nest.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Birds, Nature People, Wildlife

06
March
2015

Perks of the Job

There are many reason I love my life on Cousin Island Special Reserve. Cousin has perfect (and empty!) beaches with incredible sunsets. There is also excellent snorkeling just off the shore and the weather is great. Well, except for the current lack of rain – but that’s another matter altogether. 

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Birds, Nature People, Wildlife

09
February
2015

All I want for my birthday is rain

Today it’s my birthday. Usually at my age people ask for nice watches or Apple products, a new tablet perhaps or tickets to an event. But all I want is some rain on Cousin Island, and not just a little bit! I’m talking about 48 hours of solid heavy downpour, a proper good drenching, cats and dogs sort of rain.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve

09
January
2015

Reef rescuers boat back in the water

We are happy to report that as of today the Reef Rescuers boat is back in the water after three and a half weeks of hard work.

Categories: Conservation, Marine

23
December
2014

Bringing back the coral reef

A healthy reef (control) photo credit Claude Reveret

One of the main challenges in any coral reef restoration project is to document that the restored site is making good progress, meaning, the restoration effort has resulted in a recovery of the ecosystem function and is closer to a healthy undisturbed reef than to a degraded, dead reef.

Categories: Marine

18
November
2014

Elegance is overrated

photo by Martijn Hammers

Grace and elegance are two words that I generally wouldn’t associate with myself. Bish, bash, bosh is a more accurate description of my approach to life. The finesse may not always be there, but the job gets done. I’m efficient, but I’ll get dirt under my fingernails and probably spill something down my T-shirt in the process.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Turtles, Conservation, Volunteering, Nature People, Wildlife, Marine

07
October
2014

Volunteering on Cousin: Expectations vs Reality

Visitors arriving on Cousin Island

Before arriving on Cousin, my own expectations regarding the island and life as a volunteer were largely informed by both the Nature Seychelles website and the volunteer handbook, which in combination provide everything a prospective volunteer needs to know, from the moment they apply and start packing, right up until leaving the island. However, even with all this information on what I might expect from my time here, my experience so far has shown me that not everything was exactly as I had imagined it would be.

Categories: Living on a nature reserve, Conservation, Volunteering, Nature People, Wildlife

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