Document Sample
FACT SHEET 2008 Powered By Docstoc
					                                             FACT SHEET 2008

Name:                        Cousine Island

Status:                      Private Nature Reserve & Conservation Island

Location:                    Seychelles

                             Situated 6km off the West coast of Praslin and close to the island of
                             Cousin lays this natural paradise.

                             The island is 25 hectares (62 acres) in size; approximately 1.4km in
                             length, 800m in width and is 100% dedicated to the preservation of
                             the Seychelles environment. The vegetation consists of 95%
                             endemic plants and is home to more than 5 species of endemic land
                             birds and 7 species of endemic seabirds – the remaining 5% of
                             vegetation is made up of indigenous fruit trees and vegetable
                             plants. Migratory birds consider Cousine home during 6 months of
                             the year. Hawksbill Turtles come ashore to nest and Green Turtles,
                             rare to the Seychelles, nest occasionally throughout the year.
                             Cousine Island is one of the islands in the Seychelles to be
                             completely free of alien mammals.

GPS Coordinates:             4 Deg 20 Mins 55.73 South
                             53 Deg 38 Mins 53.24 East

Mission:                     “To promote and practice nature conservation and the wise use of
                             natural resources of the island and its surroundings and to share
                             this philosophy with guests”

Opened:                      April 2000

Island & Hotel
Manager:                     Mr Jock Henwood

Staff:                       16 in total including island and conservation staff

Star rating:                 5 star

Website:                     www.cousineisland.com
Cousine Island, Seychelles
Fact Sheet 2008
Accommodation:         4 Luxury Villas, 30 metres from the beach, each with magnificent
                       views over the Indian Ocean.

Architecture, Design
& Villas:              The architecture of all buildings is French Colonial to commemorate
                       the heritage of the Seychelles and to blend in with the traditional
                       designs. Only four individual Villas were built to ensure comfort and
                       maximum privacy for guests and to reduce the impact of man on
                       the island. Each Villa has a floor space of 175m² which allows for
                       spacious and tastefully decorated rooms fitted with comfortable
                       furnishings and appliances. The majority of the building materials
                       used was sourced locally.

Occupancy:             Each Villa can accommodate 2 persons.
                       2 out of 4 Villas can accommodate 1 extra person.
                       Full island occupancy is 10 persons.

Dining:                The Island has one airy dining area which is located in the main
                       building called The Pavillion and overlooks the freshwater
                       swimming pool, the Indian Ocean and the islands of Praslin, Cousin
                       and Aride.

                       Cousine Island’s chefs prepare meals to order to satisfy each
                       guest’s individual taste.

                       Typical Creole cuisine can be sampled here but dishes with Eastern
                       and European influences are also available.

                       All ingredients are sourced locally, supporting the local community,
                       thus ensuring the freshest ingredients, allowing for a first class
                       Creole experience!

Head Chef:             Adriaan van Niekerk (South African)

Assistant Chef:        Jerina Magnan (Seychellois)

& Ecology:             Cousine Island has always been a uniquely valuable haven to the
                       flora and fauna of the Seychelles. The island has escaped the
                       introduction of alien mammals and as a result, the delicate web of
                       endemic bird life and supporting flora and fauna has remained
                       intact. The island has been privately owned for 14 years and has
                       been transformed into a private nature reserve through a
                       systematic rehabilitation programme, replanting of endemic trees
                       and plants and the establishment of colonies of Seychelles endemic
                       birds. Cousine is one of the only islands in the Seychelles
                       archipelago which is totally free of alien mammals.
                           Hawksbill and Green turtles nest on Cousine’s shores, with
                           approximately 14,000 Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings being released
                           per breeding season (Nov-Mar).

                           In order to protect the delicate ecosystem, Cousine Island prefers
                           guests to arrive by helicopter thus ensuring against the introduction
                           of any alien species. The guests share the island with its natural
                           inhabitants, offering some of the closest encounters with nature in
                           the Seychelles.

Aim:                       To preserve and protect the endemic flora and fauna for future

Sustainability:            By staying on Cousine Island the guests contribute to the funding
                           needed to secure its future. All funds raised by Cousine Island Trust
                           are used to run the island.

                           The guests’ information pack states that “tourism development is
                           the only revenue generating activity purely to ensure the long-term
                           sustainability of conservation.”

Activities & facilities:   Bird watching: Cousine Island has a variety of Seychelles endemic
                           birds, including the Seychelles Magpie Robin and the recently
                           introduced endangered Seychelles White-eye.

                           Walks: Various paths around the island and into the forest and hill
                           areas are outlaid on the island map in each villa. Guided walks
                           with the Island Ecologists are available but walks can also be
                           enjoyed alone.

                           Conservation programmes: Guests are encouraged to take part in
                           the various conservation programmes and activities that are running
                           on the island e.g.:
                           - Tree planting
                           - Turtle monitoring
                           - Ringing and feeding of Magpie Robins
                           - Monitoring the White-eye, released in Summer 2007

                           Snorkelling: Guided snorkelling is available, equipment is
                           complimentary from the office and guests can also explore on their

                           Swimming pool: Located at The Pavillion, the pool is filled with

                           Library: The library has a selection of reference books as well as
                           novels, DVDs, Videos and CDs. The library is open for guests to use
                           at any time during the day.
             Organised water sports:    Diving and fishing can be arranged on

             Excursions: Excursions by boat to other islands are available and
             can be arranged on request.

             Internet: Broadband access is currently available in the library but
             will soon be available in the Villas. There is also wireless
             connection access on various parts of the island.

             Spa: Ligne St Barth Spa treatments are offered in the Beach House
             Wellness Retreat.

             Gym: The gym is located in the Beach House and guests may use
             this facility complimentary.

Beach:       Cousine Island’s beach stretches from the most Northern point
             of the island to the most Southern tip of the island. Another beach
             forms during the North West Monsoon winds and is referred to as
             ‘Honeymoon Beach’ due to its seclusion.

Spa & Gym:   The Beach House Wellness Retreat is a thatched building housing
             the spa and gym. The Beach House was one of the first buildings on
             the island during the 70’s and housed the management of the
             coconut plantation, the original structure remains today. The Spa
             has an inside and outside treatment areas where guests are
             pampered with the exclusive spa product range of Ligne St Barth

             Fitness equipment includes a multi-gym, rowing machine, sit-up
             bench, stair master, treadmill, individual weights, yoga mats and
             gym balls.
                    AND SPECIES LIST

Cousine Island is situated 6km off the West coast of Praslin and close to the island of Cousin.
The island is 25 hectares (62 acres) in size, approximately 1.4km long and 400m wide.

Although small in size, Cousine Island plays an important role in the conservation of the
Seychelles. It is the only island of its size entirely free of alien mammals which is a key factor
in protecting the island’s biodiversity.

        The lowland forests of Pisonia Grandis and Pandanas Balfouri have been destroyed on
        many granitic islands, however they still flourish and dominate the islands of Cousine,
        Aride and Cousin.

        Cousine Island is one of the few islands with nesting seabird colonies of 7 species. The
        Lesser Noddy, the most prolific breeding species (62,000 breeding pairs), is a
        subspecies found only in parts of the Western Indian Ocean. Furthermore, 3 naturally
        occurring land birds - Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Seychelles Sunbird and Seychelles Fody
        (Tok-tok) can be spotted on the island.

        2 endemic and equally important land birds were introduced to Cousine Island over a
        decade ago - the Seychelles Warbler and the Seychelles Magpie Robin, one of the
        world’s rarest birds whose population was diminished to just 20 individuals in 1990.
        The world population is now at about 160 and is steadily growing. These bird species
        can be found on 4 granitic islands Aride, Cousin, Cousine and Fregate. Cousine Island
        currently has a population of 39.

        The introduction of the Seychelles Magpie Robin and Seychelles White-eye…
        In October 1995, three Seychelles Magpie Robins (2 males and a female) were brought
        to Cousine by helicopter. The following year, a further 2 females and a male
        were relocated to Cousine from Fregate Island and a third female was brought from
        Cousin by boat.

        Cousine has also become home to the Seychelles White-Eye, another endangered
        species on the verge of extinction. As part of the introduction phase in 2007, a forest
        of endemic fruit trees was planted to provide essential food for this species. A study
        has been put in place to measure the stress levels of the current inhabitant – the
        Seychelles Warbler, as to provide an insight into behavioural changes pre and post
        introduction of similar species to the island.
      Reptilian fauna on Cousine includes 6 Seychelles-endemic reptiles. The Wright’s Skink
      and the Bronze Gecko, which is often seen lounging in the bar area in the early
      evening, are considered important in conservation due to their restricted distribution.

      Hawksbill, Green Turtle and Giant Tortoise
      Cousine Island provides nesting beaches for hawksbill and green turtles - both
      internationally important as species in need of protection.

      The island has a population of 20 giant land tortoises, the majority of which have
      been rescued from captivity and now roam freely across the island. 2 types of giant
      land tortoises are present here - the Aldabra Giant Tortoise and 1 Seychelles Land
      Tortoise. The latter is an extremely rare species thought to be extinct, however DNA
      testing has confirmed its presence on the island.

      Cousine is also a feeding area for the endemic Seychelles fruit bat. 200 - 400 bats
      feed on the wild fruits such as wild fig from October to April.

      Breeding Seasons
      Turtle breeding season starts in September with just a few turtles laying their first
      batch of eggs. The number of turtles increases month on month with the most
      emergences in October, November, December and January. Hatching occurs after
      54 to 64 days and the best time to view turtle hatchlings emerging from the nest is
      from the middle to end of December until the middle of February.

      The Lesser Noddy breeding season runs from May to July/August. During this time
      approximately 62,000 pairs build nests in the endemic trees, each female laying a
      single egg. The seabird Fairy Tern, which is the only tern that is totally white,
      searches for an indent or a fork in a branch to lay their egg. The chick hatches on the
      branch and stays there until fledging.

      Ongoing Conservation
      The management of Cousine Island are constantly searching for opportunities to
      introduce new endemic species to the island. Before the introduction of any new
      species is considered, extensive research is undertaken to investigate the long term
      effects to the island and the existing species. Lots of time is also invested into
      ensuring that alien plant life does not overpower the exiting flora and that more
      space is created for endemic plants.


      The Island stores 350,000 litres of water. Most of the rainwater is collected from roofs
      and stored in 10,000 litre tanks. The water then goes through a sediment and UV
      filter which kills all bacteria making this water safe for drinking. Bottled mineral
      water is also available.
All waste that is accumulated on Cousine is sorted into glass, metal, cardboard/paper
and food waste. The food waste is used to produce rich compost for the vegetable
garden where a small selection of vegetables and herbs are grown. The paper,
cardboard and plastic waste is burnt in a controlled environment as there is no
recycling plant in the Seychelles. The metal and glass is taken off Cousine Island to
Praslin where it is disposed of.

All the power to the island is supplied by 3 x 60kw diesel generator. 20,000 litres of
diesel is brought to the island by barge every 3 to 4 months and then pumped into 4 x
10,000 litres diesel storage tanks. Solar power is used in the villas to assist the
electric water heaters and to conserve the electricity where possible.
                           Key People on Cousine Island

Island & Hotel Manager – Jock Henwood

Jock Henwood came to Cousine Island in April 2002 and took up the position of Manager.
Jock’s role is to ensure guests have a seamless experience on this paradise island, whilst also
working closely with the Ecologist to gain a real understanding of the important conservation
work which is carried out and forms a crucial part of the guest experience. Jock spent his
childhood immersed in the hospitality industry as his parents owned and ran two hotels in
South Africa. He decided to study Hotel Management when he finished school and then
trained at both the Hilton Durban and also the Mount Nelson in Cape Town.

Marketing & Reservations Manager - Janine Samuel

Janine Samuel came to Cousine Island in May 2003 and joined as Marketing Manager. Janine
always wanted to work within the travel industry and so after school, she went on to study
Travel and Tourism, completing her in-service training at the Kwabhekitunga Lodge (a
traditional Zulu village in Zululand). She also worked at the Tradewinds Hotel followed by the
Canefields Country House in South Africa before coming to the Seychelles. Janine also assists
with reservations and guests relations, ensuring that every guest has a highly personalised and
memorable experience on the island.

Conservation Officer – Kevin Jolliffe

Kevin Jolliffe arrived on Cousine Island in February 2007 followed by his wife, San-Marie, in
March both coming from Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. They are both
experienced conservationists with a passion for the wildlife of Africa. Kevin has a distinct
interest in Orchids and birds and he is currently writing a book on the Orchids of Natal.

Kevin and San-Marie have been interested in nature from an early age and they spent many
years either visiting wildlife reserves or working on them during holidays. Both studied and
met at the Nature Conservation and Cape Tech and went on to work together at the Ndumo
Game Reserve on the border of Kwazulu Natal and Mozambique with KZN-Wildlife (formerly
Natal Parks Board) as well as Mondi Forestry in the North Eastern Cape, running an
Environmental Education Centre and managing the rehabilitation of wetlands in the area.
They also spent time in Swaziland managing the conservation of a safari company; at
Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Cedarberg on the West Coast of South Africa and
managing a small lodge and conservation area in the Hoedspruit area of the Limpopo Province.