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

2017-11-20 Brendan Joyce receives an OBE Brendan Joyce receives an OBE at Buckingham Palace
Monday 20 November, 2017
Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce, received an OBE on Thursday for services to nature conserva...
2017-11-13 Cley Calling celebrates Norfol Cley Calling celebrates Norfolk’s starry skies this December
Monday 13 November, 2017
Do you know your mallard from your gadwall? Can you hum ‘Die Fledermaus’ or fancy a spot of frosty storyt...
2017-10-26 NWT's newest nature reserve: P NWT's newest nature reserve: Pigneys Wood
Thursday 26 October, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that it has been entrusted with the ownership of Pigneys Wood, a l...
2017-10-25 New report urges Government to New report urges Government to tackle five challenges simultaneously
Wednesday 25 October, 2017
Today The Wildlife Trusts publish a new report that sets a vision for our marine environment post Brexit. It identifi...
2017-10-24 Hedgehog season Hedgehog season
Tuesday 24 October, 2017
This time of year you may see hedgehogs and be concerned if they need help and if so what to do. Time is of the essen...
2017-10-13 Safeguarding water supply at t Safeguarding water supply at the Trinity Broads
Friday 13 October, 2017
The supply of drinking water from the Trinity Boards has been secured for many years to come, thanks to an innovative...
2017-10-11 Powerful Climate Change Exhibi Powerful Climate Change Exhibition at Cley
Wednesday 11 October, 2017
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will bring to Norfolk the work of award-winning photographer Ashley Cooper; known globally for...
2017-10-02 New report links volunteering New report links volunteering in nature with better mental health
Monday 02 October, 2017
A new report which examines the effects of volunteering in nature on people’s mental health is published by The...
2017-09-20 Cley Calling – Autumn Colours Cley Calling – Autumn Colours
Wednesday 20 September, 2017
This autumn, you can explore North Norfolk’s colourful coastal landscape and culture as part of NWT’s ...
2017-09-19 Celebrating two decades of rub Celebrating two decades of rubbish help for biodiversity
Tuesday 19 September, 2017
It feels counterintuitive - the waste we produce helping to restore habitats and conserve some of Norfolk’s mos...
2017-09-14 Investing in the future – NWT’ Investing in the future – NWT’s apprenticeship programme
Thursday 14 September, 2017
Nearly three years ago, thanks to support from Lincs Wind Farm, Norfolk Wildlife Trust appointed two apprentices to u...
2017-09-11 Breeding redshank return to Ro Breeding redshank return to Roydon Common after 40 years
Monday 11 September, 2017
A new noise has joined the cacophony of bubbling curlew, drumming snipe and the ‘tooo-wips’ of lapwing th...