Alongside the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the Seychellois President Michel signed into effect the creation of a new national park on Silhouette island, dedicated to “resilience to climate change from a biodiversity and sea level rise perspective,” quoting official sources in the Seychelles.
President Michel, while in Copenhagen, is reported to have said: “Silhouette is the third largest granitic island in the Seychelles group, lying within a marine protected area and known as one of the most important biological hotspots in the Indian Ocean. It is known for its virgin and untouched forest, and this deserves formal protection. At least 8 species of plants, a once endemic family of rare frogs, and other biodiversity thrive on Silhouette. But the threat of climate change, invasive species, and others is forever looming.”
Sources from the archipelago also confirmed to this column that with this latest addition to the protected areas, over 50 percent of the islands are now under legal protection under the various statutes, while alongside the reserves on land some 14 marine reserves have also been gazetted.
For the Seychelles, as indeed for other countries like the Maldives and several Pacific island nations, rising sea levels is a matter not just of concern but ultimately a question of either survival or extinction, hence the tough demands by the Seychelles during the discussions in Copenhagen.