The Seychelles Islands Basis (SIF) recorded a rise within the poaching of the endemic coco de mer within the Vallee de Mai particular reserve on Praslin for the 12 months 2020 throughout restrictions on motion to curb the rise of COVID-19 infections.
The Basis which manages the location recorded 50 poaching incidents between April and August when restrictions on motion have been imposed in Seychelles after the island nation began recording optimistic COVID-19 circumstances. There have been solely two such poaching incidents in 2019.
“Based mostly on the drastic lower in vacationers and many individuals dropping earnings from the continuing pandemic, we surmise that extra persons are determined to search out different technique of earnings, even when this implies being concerned in unlawful actions,” stated Fleischer-Dogley, SIF’s chief govt.
The coco de mer, the world’s greatest nut which grows naturally on in Seychelles, an archipelago within the western Indian Ocean, is a dioecious species which suggests it has each a female and male plant. It’s already on the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pink Record of threatened species.
Apart from Praslin, the nut grows naturally on just one different island, Curieuse, a nationwide park situated very near Praslin. Its standing as king of the palms and an enormous within the plant kingdom makes it a serious attraction for holidaymakers.
Fleischer-Dogley stated Vallee de Mai is probably the most focused place for poachers and really well-known for its appreciable coco de mer inhabitants.
“This prominence attracts undesirable consideration, making it weak to deliberate and opportunistic poaching. Additionally, not like different locations the place it grows abundantly, the Vallee de Mai is extra accessible to folks,” she informed SNA.
The character reserve is probably the most visited pure web site in Seychelles and receives round 115,000 guests per 12 months.
In an interview with SNA in December, Emeline Lafortune, a challenge officer at SIF stated that “given the implications of COVID-19 on the extremely distinctive and delicate ecosystem of the Vallee de Mai and the restricted earnings because of the lack of tourism, the monitoring, analysis and leisure actions that convey worth to this nature reserve has been compromised immensely.”
Fleischer-Dogley stated that the coco de mer nuts have at all times been prized possessions, not just for ornamental functions but additionally as a delicacy and to be planted on folks’s non-public property. It’s attainable that continued demand for these nuts is being now met by unlawful suppliers.
She stated that poaching of the coco de mer may be very saddening as a couple of persons are robbing their neighborhood’s pure heritage and prosperity by endangering the regeneration of a delicate and very important endemic plant.
As per the amended coco de mer (Administration) Decree, convicted poachers are liable to be imprisoned for a time period not exceeding two years or to a positive not lower than SCR25,000 and never exceeding SCR500,000.
In the meantime, in 2018, a three-month nationwide census carried out the place coco de mer bushes are discovered, aside from Curieuse Island, revealed that there are about 8000 wholesome bushes. The census was undertaken by the Ministry of Surroundings was to offer up to date data to permit higher administration and make sure the survival of the species.