Connecting wetland centres across the world

Sanctuary at Roche Caiman

Sanctuary at Roche Caiman

The sanctuary comprises a 2.9 ha freshwater wetland close to the sea. The site has resulted from reclamation works carried out in 1986 on the east coast of Mahe and was opened in 1992.

It is located 3km from the capital of Seychelles, Victoria, and is linked by highway to the south east of the main island of Mahe.

Funding support: Jensen Foundation

Number of staff: 5

Number of visitors per year:

Overall aims of the centre

Our mission is to improve the conservation of local bio-diversity through research, habitat conservation, monitoring, education and awareness, and advocacy and ecotourism.

During our guided tours with visitors we introduce them to the issues of climate change and wetlands and how the community can benefit socio-economically from sustainable fishing.

Description of the centre

The sanctuary comprises a 2.9 ha freshwater wetland close to the sea. The site has resulted from reclamation works carried out in 1986 on the east coast of Mahe and was opened in 1992.

It is located 3km from the capital of Seychelles, Victoria, and is linked by highway to the south east of the main island of Mahe.

It is situated opposite a recently constructed medium density housing estate and large school complex.  The country’s sports complex is on the other side of the reserve and a yacht  marina is planned.

At present the vegetation consists of native and introduced trees such as Casuarina, Terminalia catappa, Tabebuia pallida and Calophyllum inophyllum, with invasive reeds such as Typha and other dense emergent vegetation.

There are two species of mangrove in some parts of the wetlands and even though the sanctuary is no longer connected to the sea the mangrove do well due to the salinity remaining in the fresh water mixed with calcium carbonate from corals.

The lagoons are an important roost for waders, invertebrates are abundant – dragonflies, damselflies, palm spider, water skater, crabs – and vertebrates present include four species of freshwater fish, frogs, skinks and eleven species of birds – mostly herons and some natives.

There is a small beach developing near by which lends itself to the development of coastal activities.  It is adjacent to the first marine park in the Seychelles and so presents opportunities for marine education.

Main CEPA work areas

The centre provides exciting opportunities for environment education, creating a focus for national conservation education and research activities, both terrestrial and marine, and serves as a model for outdoor education.

Top three successes

Nature Seychelles has undertaken extensive restoration on the site in order to enhance the pre-existing habitats and to create additional habitats so that the wetland can benefit from more species. We have added more features on the board walk together with geological, historical and hands on activities.

The sanctuary provides the general public, youths and school children with a valuable outdoors classroom within their curricula. It is also a recreation area for the general public and tourists who come to watch the birds and see other species, and to learn more about wetland conservation.

Top three challenges

Management of the invasive Typha javanica reed is the biggest challenge – we have not yet found a permanent solution for its control and would welcome any advice on this.

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage / interpretation techniques
Using audio visual tools
Producing written materials
Developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre
Running a visitor centre
Managing / creating habitat
Building / maintaining structures

Participation

Working with disabled people
Engaging young people
Working with volunteers
Engaging the local community

Education and communication

Early years education
Working with primary schools
Working with secondary schools
Lobbying / running campaigns
Developing resources / materials

General

Auditing / assessing effectiveness
Running effective administration
Fund-raising
PR and marketing
Health and safety
Project planning

Website address: www.natureseychelles.org

Blog: http://savingparadise.wildlifedirect.org

Mr Nirmal Shah, Chief Executive, Nature Seychelles, Centre for Environment and Education, Roche Caiman, P O Box 1310 Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
nirmalshah@seychelles.net
Tel: (248) 60 11 00
Fax: (248) 60 11 02

The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.

Contact

Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: info@wli.org.uk Twitter: @wetlandlink