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Seychelles? Survivor Supported

Darwin lifeline for rare paradise-flycatcher…

A three-year project funded by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative has been launched to save the Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone corvina, the last Critically Endangered endemic bird in the Seychelles.

Once found on islands across the archipelago, including Praslin, Mariane, Aride and Felicite, today a breeding population of paradise-flycatchers exists only on La Digue, where the pace of island developments is increasing pressure on the remaining 200 birds.

“Conservation action has helped several of our endemic bird species recover in numbers, and we’re confident we can do the same for the paradise-flycatcher,” said Nirmal Shah, Director of Nature Seychelles, the BirdLife partner in Seychelles. In recent years, the threat status of the Seychelles Magpie-robin Copsychus sechellarum, Seychelles Fody Foudia sechellarum, Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modestus, Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis and Seychelles Scops-owl Otus insularis have all improved, thanks to action by several organisations, including Nature Seychelles and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, assisted by private island owners.

“The Seychelles and New Zealand have led the way in the restoration of island ecosystems and species recoveries,” said Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s Global Species Programme Co-ordinator. “It would be a remarkable achievement to bring the last Seychelles endemic out of imminent danger of extinction.” The project will work closely with local people on La Digue, to ensure measures put in place to protect the birds meet with their approval. It will also include an assessment of the socio-economic importance of the flycatchers to La Digue and the Seychelles, and aims to increase the importance placed on conservation and protection of local ecosystems.

Investing in island biodiversity: restoring the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, is led by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent and Nature Seychelles, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR), Wildlife Vets International, RARE Pride, Denis Island Limited, Kent Business School and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).

4th July 2014