NatureProtection Trust of Seychelles
Protecting wildlife and habitats for the future
Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles was established in 1992 as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation under the Chairmanship of Ron Gerlach. NPTSworked to conserve the biodiversity of the Seychelles islands through conservation projects aiming to protect species by protecting their habitats and based on informed scientific research.
In its 20 years of existence NPTS successes included the establishment of the Roche CaimanBird Sanctuary, the Seychelles Terrapin Research Project, Giant Tortoise Conservation Project, publication the Seychelles Red Data Book1997 and the Seychelles fauna monographs, the Indian Ocean Biodiversity Assessment, establishment of the Silhouette National Park, and conservation of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat.
NPTS was a member of IUCN, The World Conservation Union and members were represented on the IUCN Species Survival Commission in the Re-introductionSpecialist Group, Madagascar and Mascarene Reptile and Amphibian Specialist Group, Amphibian Specialist Group, Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Mollusc Specialist Group, Heron SpecialistGroup and the Southern African Invertebrates Specialist Group.
NPTS worked to conserve birds through research, publication and conservationof important bird habitats. These included the establishment andmanagement of the Roche CaimanBird Sanctuary, monitoring for theAfrican Waterbird Census andpublication of 'Birdwatch'.
With the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew NPTS investigated 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 subviscosum). Work onSilhouette island aimed to increase the numbersof Trilepisium gymnandrum and to re-establish Rothmannia annaeon the island.
NPTS carried out the most extensive surveys of the status of Seychellesinvertebrates ever undertaken. These animalsare often overlooked but are a vital part of biodiversity. NPTS work hasrediscovered many species not seen for 100, years such as the Seychelles bee hawkmoth.NPTS also worked 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 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 was a unique opportunity to rescue two charismatic species.
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 worked 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. NPTS successfuly campaigned for the island to be given National Park status. All NPTS reports on scientific activity on Silhouette island are availabel on this site.
SEYCHELLES SHEATH-TAILED BAT
One of the most important NPTS convervation projects was the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat (Coleura seychellensis). This resulted in a great improvement of our knowledge of the world's most threatened bat, and an increase in the largest known population from just 14 bats to 40.
NPTS publishes an annual scientific journal,"Phelsuma" covering all aspectsof biology and conservation throughout the western Indian Ocean.
"Seychelles Wildlife News", NPTS's quarterly publication,covers news of the natural history of 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.
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