Silhouette National Park
Silhouette Island was officially declared a National Park on 7th August 2010. This is an event of major significance for the conservation of the island and for environmental protection in Seychelles. For the NPTS this is an important declaration as our work on Silhouette since 1997 had three main aims: securing the future of Silhouette as a protected area, increasing the sheath-tailed bat population to over 50 individuals and re-establishing tortoises in the wild on the island. The declaration of the Silhouette National Park sees the achievement of the first, and in many ways the most important, of these aims.
Regarding our other aims, the sheath-tailed bat population grew to 40 bats and the 50 milestone ws in sight when NPTS was forced to cease conservation work on Silhouette. The tortoises were ready for release but this was blocked by the Islands Development Company and the Ministry of Environemnt who declared that no wild tortoises would be established in the National PArk, thus preventing the protected area ever returning to its natural state. We regard the establishment of the Silhoeutte National Park as one of our greatest achievements but regret that it remains an unmanaged 'paper park'.
The Silhouette National Park was first proposed by the President of Seychelles on 26th September 2007 at the First Global Island Partnership Strategy Meeting. President James Michel said:
“Silhouette is the third largest granitic island in the Seychelles group, lying within a marine protected area and known as one of the most important biological hotspots in the Indian Ocean. Silhouette is known for its virgin and untouched forest and this deserves formal protection. At least 8 species of plants, one endemic family of rare frogs and other biodiversity thrive on Silhouette. But the threat of climate change, invasive species and others are forever looming,”
“With this new addition, Seychelles will have more than 50% of our land territory under formal protection, in addition to the 14 marine protected areas that have already been designated as such”.
93% of the island was declared a National Park on 7th August 2010.
Map of the National Park:
The opening of the Silhouette National Park is of great importance for conservation in Seychelles becasue it marks the following :
for the first time a population of the Seychelles sheath tailed bat Coleura seychellensis is in a protected area
the largest natural area of freshwater marsh in Seychelles (Grande Barbe) is now protected