Celebrating The Wildlife Trusts' global conservation impact in Seychelles


Friday 05 August, 2016




The Wildlife Trusts is the grass roots conservation movement in the UK. We also have a legacy of directly saving unique species as far away as the southern hemisphere over the last nearly half century. This global conservation impact is celebrated with the publication of a new book telling the story of 40 years transforming the Seychelles' island of Aride, purchased by The Wildlife Trusts in 1973 with the generous support of chocolate family scion and conservation champion Christopher Cadbury. He was also one of NWT’s most committed donors and fundraisers, offering significant financial support for the purchase of the first reserve at Weeting Heath.


The Seychelles islands, just south of the equator in the western Indian Ocean, conjure up images of the exotic tropics, honeymooning royalty such Prince William and Kate, and remote wildlife jewels. The wildlife of Seychelles is extraordinary. Today, Seychelles is one of the world's conservation success stories. The Wildlife Trusts and UK conservationists played a pivotal role in this, saving a number of the world's rarest land bird species from extinction.

Aride Island is now the best example of native ecology in Seychelles through painstaking work led by Stoke-born Briton Adrian Skerrett, who for many years was the volunteer representative of The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) in the country. The native forests have been restored, with the Wright's Gardenia tree found only on Aride, and now host vital populations of Seychelles Magpie Robin and Seychelles Fody – both once amongst the most threatened land birds in the world. Eggs of the Sooty Tern colony were formerly harvested from the island. Today, all wildlife is completely protected and Aride is one of the most important seabird nature reserves in the Indian Ocean.

More recently, there has been restoration of the freshwater marsh and establishment of a new population of the restricted range Seychelles Black Mud Terrapin (translocated to the island by helicopter no less). The island also has a solar power system breaking new ground in state-of-the-art technology through the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), British High Commission, Australian High Commission, and Japanese multi-national Sharp Corporation.

Adrian Skerrett co-edits this new book “Aride Island – Tread Lightly” with RSWT stalwart Tim Sands (author of the Wildlife Trusts' landmark history tome “Wildlife in Trust”). The book was launched to coincide with the Queen's 90th birthday at the British High Commission in the hills above Victoria, one of the world's smallest capital cities, on the 16th June.

The book tells the intertwined conservation stories and social history of Aride Island. Early visitors to the island included artist and Victorian traveller Marianne North – her painting of the island is on display at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, London. Aride has transformed from a 19th Century leper colony and plantation settlement to one of the world's most important tropical island nature reserves in the 21st Century.

“Conservation has blossomed through the hard work and opportunities made possible by The Wildlife Trusts in the UK” explained Island Conservation Society chairman Adrian Skerrett.

More than 40 people who have contributed to the success story of Aride give a flavour of island life and conservation projects across four decades. Information boxes scattered across the text cover every aspect of the island's unique flora and fauna. Current island manager, Seychellois native Uzice Samedi, sets out a vision for the future in the concluding chapter.

The Wildlife Trusts handed over to local charity the Island Conservation Society in 2001 but continues to have a supporting role through Tim Sands and other Wildlife Trusts champions.

“Aride Island – Tread Lightly” will be available soon from specialist publishers www.boco.org.uk.

Discover more about the Island Conservation Society, Seychelles, at www.islandconservationseychelles.com and about Aride Island at www.arideisland.com.

Adam Moolna is part of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's team in northern England and was responsible for Aride Island during 2012-13 whilst running the Island Conservation Society.
Share this

Top news stories

2017-05-24 Volunteer taster day at NWT Ho Volunteer taster day at NWT Holme Dunes
Wednesday 24 May, 2017
Interested in volunteering but not sure it's for you? Then come and join us at our Taster Day at Holme Dunes ...
2017-05-11 Bird Photographer of the Year Bird Photographer of the Year at NWT Cley Marshes
Thursday 11 May, 2017
From Monday 15 May Norfolk Wildlife Trust will be hosting the Bird Photographer of the Year exhibition at its NWT Cle...
2017-05-03 Cley Calling - Spring Song Cley Calling - Spring Song
Wednesday 03 May, 2017
Musicians and artists celebrate spring at the North Norfolk Coast From Thursday 4 May to Sunday 7 May, Norfolk Wi...
2017-04-18 £1 million target reached to s £1 million target reached to secure future of international wetland Hickling Broad
Tuesday 18 April, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced today that the £1 million target had been reached through donations to the...
2017-03-15 'Microsculpture' 'Microsculpture'
Wednesday 15 March, 2017
'Microsculpture' is a unique exhibition resulting from a ground breaking insects project by Levon Biss, Briti...
2017-03-07 Celebrating 'The Year of Norfo Celebrating 'The Year of Norfolk’s Nature' - photography competition
Tuesday 07 March, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust today [Wednesday 8 March 2017] announced the winner of its photographic competition celebratin...
2017-02-16 Do some 'fun raising' and Do some 'fun raising' and "Help Hickling" Broad
Thursday 16 February, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has an ambitious target of raising £1 million by 31 March 2017 to help it purchase 655 a...
2017-02-02 World Wetlands Day celebrates World Wetlands Day celebrates major public commitment to securing Norfolk’s finest wetland
Thursday 02 February, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced today on World Wetlands Day that over £500,000 has been donated so far to ...
2017-01-14 Sea Flooding at NWT Cley Marsh Sea Flooding at NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve
Saturday 14 January, 2017
Update: 18 January 2017 Following the flooding at the weekend, reserve staff are now carrying out a clean-up and ...
2016-12-06 A strong step towards securing A strong step towards securing Hickling Broad
Tuesday 06 December, 2016
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has announced that over £128,000 has been donated so far as a result of it launching the...
2016-11-21 It's time to chat about the ba It's time to chat about the bat
Monday 21 November, 2016
Join bat expert John Goldsmith for an evening this Thursday [24 November] discovering the secret lives of these noctu...
2016-11-02 Hickling Broad - urgent appeal Hickling Broad - urgent appeal to secure future of historic Norfolk wildlife haven
Wednesday 02 November, 2016
 Norfolk Wildlife Trust today announced it is launching a £1 million appeal to secure the future of one of...