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
ViFunding support: Jensen Foundation
Number of staff: 5
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.ctoria, and is linked by highway to the south east of the main island of Mahe.
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.
Creating signage / interpretation techniques
Using audio visual tools
Producing written materials
Developing nature trails
Setting up a new visitor centre
Running a visitor centre
Managing / creating habitat
Building / maintaining structures
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
Auditing / assessing effectiveness