2011 news: NPTS evicted from Silhouette island.
In December 2010 the CEO of the Islands Development Company, Mr Glenny Savy, notified NPTS that he was evicting us from our premises on Silhouette island. In March 2011 we were forced to close all our projects on the island. From 1997 to 2011 NPTS had been the only conservation organisation active on Silhouette island and the only independent conservation body permitted to be present on any IDC island.
After 14 years of dedicated voluntary work NPTS was forced to leave the accommodation and office premises that they had been permitted to occupy in return for their voluntary management of conservation on the island. After a meeting with IDC and the Ministry of Environment in January, we were informed that the NPTS Information Centre, built and funded by NPTS, was scheduled for demolition - a decision about which we have sought legal advice. At this meeting MoE made it clear that they would not support NPTS in any way and were dismissive of the dedicated years of voluntary conservation and research on Silhouette. Subsequent written appeals to the Vice-President did not even solicit a reply.
Over the life of the Silhouette Conservation Project, NPTS has raised in excess of SR. 2,000,000 (£100,000) by way of direct project funding and donations. These funds covered all NPTS projects on the island plus NPTS management expenses, but no money was ever paid to NPTS members in the form of salaries. In order to compensate IDC for their support, NPTS offered to pay rent for the accommodation/office building. This offer was rejected out of hand. This building has remained unoccupied and neglected since March and all conservation and protection of the environment has ceased and, as a result the Silhouette National Park remains only a 'paper-park' a year after its official designation. For more news see here. A history of conservation on Silhouette island can be found in Phelsuma voulme 19.
NatureProtection Trust of Seychelles
Protecting wildlife and habitats for the future
A non-profit, non-governmental organisation registered in Seychelles, founded in 1992 under the Chairmanship of Ron Gerlach. NPTSworks to conserve the biodiversity of these unique islands. Our conservationprojects are based on informed scientific research which aims to protectspecies by protecting their habitats.
Successful projects include the establishment of the Roche Caiman Bird Sanctuaryon Mahé; Seychelles Terrapin Research Project; Giant Tortoise ConservationProject and the Seychelles Red Data Book 1997.
NPTS is a member of IUCN, The World Conservation Union and members have beenrepresented on the IUCN Species Survival Commission in the Re-introductionSpecialist Group, Madagascar & Mascarene Reptile & Amphibian SpecialistGroup, Amphibian Specialist Group, Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Heron SpecialistGroup and the Southern African Invertebrates Specialist Group.
NPTS - helping to save our natural heritage
We are involved in numerous research projects and field studies as well asaction programmes. Our conservation work focuses on ecosystems (especiallythe Silhouette island key biodiversity area) and flagship species, includinggiant tortoises and the Seychellessheath-tailed bat.
NPTS works to conserve birds through research, publication and conservationof important bird habitats. These have included the establishment andmanagement of the Roche CaimanBird Sanctuary, monitoring for theAfrican Waterbird Census andpublication of 'Birdwatch'. We haveactive interests in conservation of and research into theSeychelles kestrel (Falco araea).
With the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew NPTS has investigating the conservationgenetics of threatened Seychelles plants to develop strategies for conservingthe most critically endangered species. Collaborative work included a project on Impatiens gordonii withthe Eden Project. Prior to our eviction from Silhouette island we were establishing new populations of this criticallyendangered plant and similarly threatened species (Achyrospermumseychellarum and Pseuderanthemum tunicatum). Work onSilhouette island aimed to increase the numbersof Trilepisium gymnandrum and to re-establish Rothmannia annaeon the island.
NPTS is investigating the status of Seychellesinvertebrates. Theseare often overlooked but are a vital part of biodiversity. NPTS work hasrediscovered species not seen for 100, years such as the Seychelles bee hawkmoth. NPTS also works with the Zoological Society of London on the breedingof threatened species from Fregate island.
Project patron: Sir David Attenborough
Since 1840 it has been assumed that all Indian OceanGiant Tortoises had been exterminated with theexception of the Aldabran species. Detailed research by NPTS confirmed, in1997, that two supposedly 'extinct' Seychelles tortoise species do survive.
The NPTS Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project has established captive breeding groups with the aim of rescuing these two species from the extinction that was thought to have claimed them over 150 years ago. This remarkable project was established on Silhouette island in 1997 when viable breeding groups of both species were brought to the island. Successful captive breeding is leading to the reintroduction of tortoises to the wild in 2006. This is a unique opportunity to rescue two charismatic species and to demonstrate that apparent extinction need not always be forever.
NPTS research discovered that the two Seychelles species are on the edgeof extinction. Fewer than 250 of either species survive due to pollution,predation and development. We aim to save these species through captive breedingand reintroduction to secure reserves.
In 1996 NPTS started a major project to conserve Silhouette; the third largestof the central islands.
Silhouette's steep mountains and untouched forests make it the most naturalof the islands, with large populations of rare animals and plants. Its uniqueecosystems contribute to its being one of the most important biodiversityhotspots in the Indian Ocean.
Despite the great biological value of Silhouette, it has no legal protection.With the arrival of the first inhabitants the forests were plundered fortheir timber; unsuccessful attempts at agricultural development were made.Now that a new sense of the value of Silhouette's biodiversity is prevalent,special reserve status for the island is being campaigned for by NPTS.
NPTS aims to preserve the natural habitats of Silhouette and to restore degradedareas to their near-natural state. Your support for one of the many conservation projects on Silhouette canhelp to secure its future.
Download the NPTS 2009 report on scientific activity on Silhouette island.
CURRENT AND FUTURE PROJECTS
NPTS continues to develop new research and conservation projects. These projects include research on the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea) and Seychelles sheath-tailed bat (Coleura seychellensis). NPTS currently carries out monitoring and research on Seychelles reptiles and amphibians and is intending to carry out further research on the Seychelles chameleon (Calumma tigris) and Seychelles tree-frog (Tachycnemis seychellensis).
NPTS publishes an annual scientific journal,"Phelsuma" covering all aspectsof biology and conservation throughout the western Indian Ocean.
"Birdwatch", NPTS's quarterly publication,covers news of birds in the area and includes reports from most of the reservesin the islands.
NPTS published the firstSeychelles Red Data Bookin 1997 and started a monographic series onthe Seychelles fauna in 2006.
The NPTS is a membership organisation. Members may receive either orboth NPTS periodicals.
The NPTS can be contacted at the addresses listed or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional conservation sites: Madagascar Wildlife ConservationInternational conservation sites: World Conservation Monitoring Centre World Conservation Union (IUCN) International Species Information System Conservation International Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Tortoise sites: Turtles of the World British Chelonia Group California Tortoise & Turtle Society SOPTOM Chelonian Research Foundation Chameleon sites: Chameleon Conservation SocietyGecko sites: Global Gecko AssociationCaecilian sites: Gymnophiona.orgNatural history books: Natural History Book Service