May 22 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for Biological Diversity, also known as International Biodiversity Day. The main aim of the day is to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is home to 57 international outstanding biodiversity areas that need to be protected. This week SNA presents three sites of the island nation with diverse and unique biodiversity.
Mare Aux Cochons wetland
Mare Aux Cochons is located in the northern region of the main island of Mahe. The site plays a role in maintaining the biodiversity of the Western Indian Ocean Ecoregion. Several species of global conservation concern are found within this site, including the endangered Seychelles Scops Owl, the critically endangered Vateriopsis seychellarum plant as well as the vulnerable Seychelles frog (Soglossus sechellensis) and Seychelles tree frog (Tachycnemis seychellensis). As this site is found within the Morne Seychellois National Park, there is little commercial activity being carried out.
(Lynn Betsy, PUC) Photo License: CC-BY
Port Launay Coastal Wetlands
Port Launay Coastal Wetlands, located in the western district of Port Glaud, is one of the best mangrove wetlands on Mahé, supporting all seven species of mangroves in Seychelles. The coastal area provides an ideal habitat for spawning, nursery, feeding and cover for several fish species including the Seychelles endemic Gouzon or Golden Panchax Pachypanchax playfairii. The mangroves along the coast help in shoreline stabilisation, sediment trapping, storm-damage limitation, water quality maintenance, nutrient retention and coral reef and lagoon protection.
(Constance Ephelia Resort) Photo License: CC-BY
Grand Police wetland
The wetland, one of the largest and most pristine wetlands of the Seychelles, is found at Grand Police bay in the southern district of Takamaka. It is home to the two species of endemic, critically endangered and nationally protected terrapins, ‘Torti Soupap’. These are the Seychelles Black Mud Terrapin and the Seychelles Yellow-bellied Mud Terrapin. Grand Police is also a potential foraging area for the critically endangered sheath tail bats.
(Stan Adam/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY