Many previously embattled areas of this world are finally getting the restorative attention that they deserve, thanks to the goodwill and hard work of those that regard the health of the planet to be a crucial aspect of their daily lives. Not all of us have the resources to play our part in the betterment of the planet, but we do what we can. Then there are those who have dedicated endless time and resources to conserving the virgin beauty of nature, people like those who have been involved in the revitalisation of Cousine Island in the Seychelles.
From endangered to endeared
In the early 1800’s, what is now known as Cousine Island came under French occupation for many years. In this time, the locations lush vegetation was steadily replaced by cash crops and alien plants; the local wildlife was hunted to near extinction to be sold as delicacies or ornamental pieces. The islands surrounding waters were overfished to such a degree that the waters seemed eerily empty in the absence of exotic species of fish and turtles; while the island’s impressive collection of bird-life began to gradually dwindle as mating pairs sought safer shores as their nesting grounds.
Though things gradually, and purposely changed when the island was purchased in 1991 with the express purpose of rehabilitating it from the damage suffered under the occupation of its previous owner who had nearly gleaned the island of its endemic life and natural resources.
By employing a unique, conservation based management structure, the owners of the island’s resort, Cousine Island Company Limited, began dedicating efforts and resources to the islands transformation. Hawksbill and green turtles were purchased or otherwise rescued to repopulate the island where they now roam freely and safely. All alien vegetation, including previously planted cash crops were quickly but gradually removed and replaced by the endemic species which once flourished here.
As a result Cousine Island witnessed a gradual return of nesting birds, the recovery of endemic species of animals and birds, and even the crystal clears shores of the waters surrounding the island began to replenish its stock of endangered marine life.
This transformation was made possible thanks to the reinjection of profits made by the hotel on the island, back into the upkeep of its natural state. Considerable time and effort have also been employed in this regard, with the hotel’s guests even being encouraged to take a hands on approach to the island’s rehabilitation during their stay in one of the island’s luxury villas.