Celebrating The Wildlife Trusts' global conservation impact in Seychelles

Friday 05 August, 2016

The Wildlife Trusts is the grass roots conservation movement in the UK. We also have a legacy of directly saving unique species as far away as the southern hemisphere over the last nearly half century. This global conservation impact is celebrated with the publication of a new book telling the story of 40 years transforming the Seychelles' island of Aride, purchased by The Wildlife Trusts in 1973 with the generous support of chocolate family scion and conservation champion Christopher Cadbury. He was also one of NWT’s most committed donors and fundraisers, offering significant financial support for the purchase of the first reserve at Weeting Heath.

The Seychelles islands, just south of the equator in the western Indian Ocean, conjure up images of the exotic tropics, honeymooning royalty such Prince William and Kate, and remote wildlife jewels. The wildlife of Seychelles is extraordinary. Today, Seychelles is one of the world's conservation success stories. The Wildlife Trusts and UK conservationists played a pivotal role in this, saving a number of the world's rarest land bird species from extinction.

Aride Island is now the best example of native ecology in Seychelles through painstaking work led by Stoke-born Briton Adrian Skerrett, who for many years was the volunteer representative of The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) in the country. The native forests have been restored, with the Wright's Gardenia tree found only on Aride, and now host vital populations of Seychelles Magpie Robin and Seychelles Fody – both once amongst the most threatened land birds in the world. Eggs of the Sooty Tern colony were formerly harvested from the island. Today, all wildlife is completely protected and Aride is one of the most important seabird nature reserves in the Indian Ocean.

More recently, there has been restoration of the freshwater marsh and establishment of a new population of the restricted range Seychelles Black Mud Terrapin (translocated to the island by helicopter no less). The island also has a solar power system breaking new ground in state-of-the-art technology through the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), British High Commission, Australian High Commission, and Japanese multi-national Sharp Corporation.

Adrian Skerrett co-edits this new book “Aride Island – Tread Lightly” with RSWT stalwart Tim Sands (author of the Wildlife Trusts' landmark history tome “Wildlife in Trust”). The book was launched to coincide with the Queen's 90th birthday at the British High Commission in the hills above Victoria, one of the world's smallest capital cities, on the 16th June.

The book tells the intertwined conservation stories and social history of Aride Island. Early visitors to the island included artist and Victorian traveller Marianne North – her painting of the island is on display at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, London. Aride has transformed from a 19th Century leper colony and plantation settlement to one of the world's most important tropical island nature reserves in the 21st Century.

“Conservation has blossomed through the hard work and opportunities made possible by The Wildlife Trusts in the UK” explained Island Conservation Society chairman Adrian Skerrett.

More than 40 people who have contributed to the success story of Aride give a flavour of island life and conservation projects across four decades. Information boxes scattered across the text cover every aspect of the island's unique flora and fauna. Current island manager, Seychellois native Uzice Samedi, sets out a vision for the future in the concluding chapter.

The Wildlife Trusts handed over to local charity the Island Conservation Society in 2001 but continues to have a supporting role through Tim Sands and other Wildlife Trusts champions.

“Aride Island – Tread Lightly” will be available soon from specialist publishers www.boco.org.uk.

Discover more about the Island Conservation Society, Seychelles, at www.islandconservationseychelles.com and about Aride Island at www.arideisland.com.

Adam Moolna is part of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's team in northern England and was responsible for Aride Island during 2012-13 whilst running the Island Conservation Society.
Share this

Top news stories

2018-03-22 People’s choice Alice Lee will People’s choice Alice Lee will exhibit her unique ‘Flock’ at NWT Cley Marshes
Thursday 22 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is excited to host talented Norwich-based artist, Alice Lee for an exhibition, colouring book ...
2018-03-14 NWT announces new Chief Execut NWT announces new Chief Executive
Wednesday 14 March, 2018
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Pamela Abbott as the new Chief Ex...
2018-03-06 Grant will give children a sur Grant will give children a sure start with nature
Tuesday 06 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has received a grant of £7,770 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All scheme f...
2018-03-05  Mass marine death along North Mass marine death along North Sea coast
Monday 05 March, 2018
Tens of thousands of marine animals have been washed up along the UK’s east coast following the cold temperatur...
2018-02-27 Bag funds for wildlife Bag funds for wildlife
Tuesday 27 February, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Tesco teamed up with G...
2018-02-26 Badger cull consultation Badger cull consultation
Monday 26 February, 2018
Defra has launched a three-month consultation on proposals to allow limited culling of badgers in low-risk areas, inc...
2018-02-05 Cley Calling Presents: Bird Ph Cley Calling Presents: Bird Photographer of the Year 2017 Exhibition
Monday 05 February, 2018
We are thrilled to debut the very best imagery from last year’s globally prestigious Bird Photographer of the Y...
2018-01-15 Cley Calling Presents: An even Cley Calling Presents: An evening of poetic-folk music with Jade Cuttle
Monday 15 January, 2018
This February Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes is excited to host Jade Cuttle, a BBC Introducing poetic folk songw...
2018-01-12 Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcome Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcomes the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan
Friday 12 January, 2018
Theresa May’s speech on the environment this week shows that, at last, a Government is seeing how much the envi...
2017-12-08 Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter Be ‘eagle’ eyed this winter
Friday 08 December, 2017
Winter is often a very good time of year to spot birds of prey. As the trees have lost their leaves the silhouettes o...
2017-12-05 Brendan is stepping down as CE Brendan is stepping down as CEO
Tuesday 05 December, 2017
Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce, has decided to step down from leading the Trust, following ...
2017-12-04 December fun thanks to The Nat December fun thanks to The National Lottery
Monday 04 December, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve will be throwing open its doors for free to National Lottery players ov...