Decorated with nature's pureness, in the tropical, crystal clear water lies a hidden jewel of Seychelles. Untouched by the outside world, this place is like an imagination. Painted with all the colours of happiness and beauty, Cousin Island lies some 1000 miles away from the mainland of Africa. The breath-taking beauty of this island will leave you stunned as you reach here and breathe the nature, you will find it impossible to believe that Cousin Island was once a coconut plantation which is now an ecosystem with diverse and vibrant flora and fauna. This bewitching island is among very few on earth which has nurtured the natural paradise miraculously to create a wonder which can surprise everyone who comes to spend some time here.
Cousin Island is protected under the nation's law as a Special Reserve and is a declared Bird Area. The island was once a coconut plantation, and a big part of its natural vegetation was stripped off. In 1968, International Council for Bird Preservation, which is now known as BirdLife International, restored this island. It restricted the coconut plantation and restored the natural vegetation. This way, the island's native vegetation was rediscovered. In 1975, Cousin Island was made a special reserve. From lizards wandering freely, foraging birds in the forests, to seabirds and other creatures roaming without any fear in search of food and shelter, you will get to see the best of nature from up close. Get close to the spiders and watch how they web their designs or maybe you can get to see a family of millipedes enjoying a feast!
Wildlife of Cousin Island
Endemic Seychelles Birds
Cousin Island is known for Endemic Seychelles Birds. Before the conversation program took place, the endemic Seychelles warblers were reduced to only 26. After the restoration program was undertaken, the situation improved and you can now spot many rare, unique and endangered bird species here. This place is natural habitat to 5 Seychelles Endemic bird species including Acrocephalus sechellensis (Seychelles warbler), Copsychus seychellarum (Seychelles magpie robin), Alectroenas pulcherrima (Seychelles blue pigeon), Foudia seychellarum (Seychells fody), Nectarinia dussumieri (Seychelles sunbird).
Visitors to Cousin Island are welcomed by the giant Aldabra tortoise which can be seen lounging on the beach, resting and enjoying some good moments of their life. These are also ancient reptiles here on the island. Who knows, you may be greeted by the shy terrapin in the freshwater of the island. When the turtle season is at its peak, you can also witness the hawksbill turtles along the beach.
A natural habitat of nesting seabirds, Cousin Island is known for its unique biodiversity. While tailed, white terns, tropical birds and tropical shearwaters dwell here round the year. Noddies can be found here breeding during the season of South East monsoon. Also, the North West monsoon is the time for Wedge tailed shearwaters.
This island has bats as the endemic land mammals. Commonly, you will encounter the fruit bats spread all over the dazzling Cousin Island.
Rules for Visiting Cousin Island
The visitors are provided with a guided tour of the island which has a duration of around one and a half hour. The tours are conducted in both French and English languages. Note that there are no restaurants and accommodation options here - this is to avoid destruction of the island. This island is a slice of heaven on the earth. One has to follow certain rules considering the ecotourism of this place. Some of the basic rules one has to follow after reaching here are listed below:
You aren't allowed to smoke or bathe at the island. Also, picnicking is also strictly prohibited.
You aren’t allowed to collect anything like shellfish, eggs, etc. from the island.
You can't use tripods while you take photos. Also, flash is not allowed.
Don't litter at the island or leave trails. You shouldn't interfere with or disturb the animals. Don't leave waste or anything behind.
Cousin Island is one of the most eco-friendly places on the earth and is a must visit place for everyone. Covered with thick, lush mangroves, freshwater swamps, beautiful sandy beaches, rocky coastline, dense green forests, this place is a perfect hideaway for people who love nature and are tired of the hustle and bustle of metropolitans.