07 Sep 2017
A Seychelles Volunteering Holiday on North Island while simultaneously conserving the destination.
North Island in the Seychelles is a tropical island paradise – a rare sanctuary for those seeking a gorgeous, unspoiled tropical haven. More importantly, it is a Noah’s Ark: a sanctuary where natural habitats are being rehabilitated and where critically endangered Seychelles fauna and flora are being reintroduced and given a place to regenerate.
Seychelles North Island as a whole comprises one of the most ambitious conservation projects ever undertaken on a single island in the Seychelles. It is very seldom that the opportunity arises to make such a significant and positive impact on a specific area, its wildlife and surrounding environment.
Volunteer in the Seychelles as part of a dedicated conservation and research team on a private island paradise. Volunteers live and work on the exclusive North Island in the Seychelles, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful archipelago in the world with its luminous white beaches, granite outcrops and azure oceans. Our Seychelles volunteering project focuses on 3 key aspects: Endangered Species monitoring, Marine Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration.
A Little Seychelles History Lesson
When North Island was abandoned as a plantation in the 1970’s following the collapse of the coconut industry, many unwanted and intrusive species of flora and fauna remained behind such as coconuts, casuarina, cows, rats, pigs, Indian Mynah birds, cats, barn owls and an especially invasive weed called lantana.
After the alarm bell had been sounded by prominent ecologists, Wilderness Safaris undertook the challenge of not only reversing the Island’s decline, but of taking the long road towards the restoration of the Island to its former glory. A cornerstone of this bold initiative has been the “Noah’s Ark” concept by which tortoises and certain species of birds are gradually being re-introduced to the Island along with indigenous trees such as takamama, badamier and the legendary coco-de-mer palm. The on-going process of Seychelles conservation is at the very heart of North Island’s philosophy.
Seychelles Volunteering Holiday Conservation Project Overview
The Seychelles volunteering work we do on North Island covers a range of conservation orientated projects spanning both terrestrial and marine aspects. Seychelles conservation volunteers will get involved in all the activities of the Environmental Department, from fieldwork to data entry. Main Seychelles volunteer activities are Turtle Monitoring and Turtle Nest Relocation, White Eye Monitoring, Giant Aldabra Tortoise Monitoring and taking care of baby tortoises, Terrapin trapping, alien vegetation and bird control and snorkeling along coral monitoring transects to photograph coral and fish.
Seychelles volunteers will live in the staff village in a shared-accommodation volunteer house and will thus have many opportunities to mix with other staff after hours. The dedicated staff beach on North Island provides the perfect opportunity to go swimming, snorkelling or even a sun-downer after work in the afternoons. North Island equipment such as surfboards, paddle-boards and kayaks are available for use every day after 4pm, so there are plenty of opportunities to have fun!
Seychelles volunteers can expect to work 6 days a week, with a rest day on Sundays. You can either choose to spend your rest day on North Island, relaxing at the staff beach, or you can travel to the mainland (Mahè) on a Saturday afternoon, returning on a Monday morning. This means having the freedom to explore this beautiful private island during your Seychelles volunteering holiday!
What Will I Do on my Seychelles Volunteering Holiday?
We seek conservation volunteers with a keen interest in tropical island conservation and ecology. Volunteers on our North Island project need to be quick learners and be prepared to work independently in the field after only a few days induction. At certain times of the year be prepared to work at high temperatures 28-32 degrees Celsius, with high humidity. You must be able to get along well with others and be in good physical condition, being able to walk up to 5km per day on deep sands and hilly terrain and have a good sense of observing animals and birds. Seychelles volunteers should be self-disciplined, responsible, very enthusiastic and patient.
Seychelles Conservation Project Goals
- Turtle Nest Monitoring, Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles
- Monitoring of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise population
- Rehabilitation of the endemic vegetation of North Island, paying special attention to the Takamaka forest
- Vegetation rehabilitation work (this is a huge task)
- Trapping, marking and re-capturing the Seychelles Black Mud turtle population to obtain population estimates
- Monitoring of the seabird populations, mainly the Wedge-tailed Shearwater and the White-tailed Tropic bird
- Snorkelling along coral transects in order to compile a photographic ID database of corals and fish occurring on the reefs around the island and monitoring changes in coral conditions
- Monitoring beach movement patterns on the three beaches of the island by means of photographs and by using Abney levels.
We have had several Seychelles volunteers return again and again to North Island who only have great things to say about working in the Seychelles. One reminds us that you are never too old to volunteer! Loyal conservation volunteer, John Francis, was our first Seychelles volunteer. He wrote a really great series of Seychelles volunteer diaries.