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Seychelles a Paradise for Birds

Aug 17, 2007
Seychelles officially the Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago nation of one hundred and fifty eight islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Reunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest and the Suva dives of the Maldives to the northeast. Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign state of Africa.

The first recorded sighting of the Seychelles was by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1756, French planters claimed Mahe and seven other islands for France. The islands, until then known as the Amirantes, were renamed in honour of the French kings accountant, Vicomte Moreau de Seychelles. The Seychelles, annexed by Britain in 1794, were placed under the administration of Mauritius. Over the course of the 19th century, administration was handled by old India hands men and women with some experience of the tropics.

For the next one hundred years, isolated from the rest of the world and all but ignored by the major European powers, the Seychelles developed their own traditions, language and culture. The islands became a Crown Colony in 1903. Internal self government was granted in 1975 and independence a year later. Despite several coup attempts, multi party democracy was restored in the Seychelles in 1991 under pressure from the countrys main aid donors, particularly France and Britain.

The economy of this isolated island paradise relies heavily on tourism. Fine beaches, turquoise seas and warm weather are among the main draws for visitors. As a result of their extraordinary, isolated history, the Seychelles are also rich in rare plants which flourish nowhere else on the planet. Eight species are unique survivors from the luxuriant tropical forests that covered the islands until humanities belated arrival two centuries ago. Outstanding amongst these is the sea coconut, native to Praslin, which grows in the Vallee de Mai. Its seed is the largest in nature, and gave rise to many legends when it was washed ashore on the coasts of Africa, India and Indonesia. Since the islands were unknown, the nuts were thought to have grown under the sea, hence the name.

The Seychelles are also a major attraction for birdwatchers. Millions of terns nest on the islands, among them that most beautiful of seabirds, the fairy tern. Up to two million sooty terns nest on Bird Island, and on Aride can be found the worlds largest colonies of lesser noddies, roseate terns and other tropical birds. It was only some thirty years ago that active conservation of endangered species began in the Seychelles. Since then, with the establishment of island sanctuaries and nature reserves, much has been done to make the Seychelles a paradise for birds and for those who love to watch them.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Seychelles Rental Site
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