Cousin Island

Cousin Island, has been a nature reserve since 1968, when it was bought by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation and held in trust for the International Council for Bird Preservation as a haven for all types of birds including endangered species. It is a place of pilgrimage for dedicated ornithologists: there they can find the Seychelles warbler, Seychelles magpie-robin and Seychelles fody, which are found elsewhere only on a handful of rat-free islands. Madagascar turtle doves (possibly including the endemic form with the red head) and Seychelles sunbirds are also present. Seabirds abound on Cousin, with more than 250,000 birds coming to nest every year.

These are brown noddies, lesser noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, Audubon’s shearwaters, bridled terns, as well as fairy terns, one of the symbols of Seychelles as seen on the livery of Air Seychelles. There are also interesting geckos, giant tortoises introduced from Aldabra, and hawksbill turtles which lay their eggs above the tideline of the beach. The reserve is open on certain days. Check with your hotel or tour operator.

The Seychelles government declared Cousin a Special Reserve in 1975. It is managed by Nature Seychelles. Visitors may not have picnics or collect shells. Even smoking is forbidden. A popular day trip leaves Praslin around 0900 hours from Maison des Palmes, taking in Curieuse as well, with time for a barbecue there, and later some snorkelling at St Pierre, arriving back at Praslin at around 1600 hours.