Nature Protection 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. NPTS works to conserve the biodiversity of these unique islands. Our conservation projects are based on informed scientific research which aims to protect species by protecting their habitats.
Successful projects include the establishment of the Roche Caiman Bird Sanctuary on Mahé; Seychelles Terrapin Research Project; Giant Tortoise Conservation Project and the Seychelles Red Data Book 1997.
NPTS is a member of IUCN, The World Conservation Union and members have been represented on the IUCN Species Survival Commission in the Re-introduction Specialist Group, Madagascar & Mascarene Reptile & Amphibian Specialist Group, Amphibian Specialist Group, Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Heron Specialist Group 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 as action programmes. Our conservation work focuses on ecosystems (especially the Silhouette island key biodiversity area) and flagship species, including giant tortoises and the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat.
NPTS works to conserve birds through research, publication and conservation of important bird habitats. These have included the establishment and management of the Roche Caiman Bird Sanctuary, monitoring for the African Waterbird Census and publication of 'Birdwatch'. We have active interests in conservation of and research into the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea).
With the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew NPTS has investigating the conservation genetics of threatened Seychelles plants to develop strategies for conserving the most critically endangered species. Collaborative work included a project on Impatiens gordonii with the Eden Project. Prior to our eviction from Silhouette island we were establishing new populations of this critically endangered plant and similarly threatened species (Achyrospermum seychellarum and Pseuderanthemum subviscosum). Work on Silhouette island aimed to increase the numbers of Trilepisium gymnandrum and to re-establish Rothmannia annae on the island.
NPTS has carried out the most extensive surveys of the status of Seychelles invertebrates ever undertaken. These animals are often overlooked but are a vital part of biodiversity. NPTS work has rediscovered many species not seen for 100, years such as the Seychelles bee hawkmoth. NPTS also works with the Zoological Society of London on the breeding of threatened species from Fregate island.
Project patron: Sir David Attenborough
Since 1840 it has been assumed that all Indian Ocean Giant Tortoises had been exterminated with the exception of the Aldabran species. Detailed research by NPTS confirmed, in 1997, 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 was a unique opportunity to rescue two charismatic species.
NPTS research discovered that the two Seychelles species are on the edge of extinction. Fewer than 250 of either species survive due to pollution, predation and development. We worked to save these species through captive breeding and reintroduction to secure reserves.
In 1996 NPTS started a major project to conserve Silhouette; the third largest of the central islands.
Silhouette's steep mountains and untouched forests make it the most natural of the islands, with large populations of rare animals and plants. Its unique ecosystems contribute to its being one of the most important biodiversity hotspots 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 for their timber; unsuccessful attempts at agricultural development were made. NPTS successfuly campaigned for the island to be given National Park status.
NPTS aimed to preserve the natural habitats of Silhouette and to restore degraded
areas to their near-natural state. 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 has been on the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea), 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 aspects of 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 reserves in the islands.
NPTS published the first Seychelles Red Data Book in 1997 and started a monographic series on the Seychelles fauna in 2006.
The NPTS is a membership organisation through subscription to Seychelles Wildlife News.
The NPTS can be contacted at the addresses listed or by e-mail
Regional conservation sites: Madagascar Wildlife Conservation International 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 Society Gecko sites: Global Gecko Association Caecilian sites: Gymnophiona.org Natural history books: Natural History Book Service