Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seychelles’ idyllic habitat at risk from climate change

Dawn (Pakistan) via AFP: Bursts of torrential rain lash the idyllic white beaches of the Seychelles, where conservationists fear that rare species such as the giant tortoise are at severe risk from climate change. As changing season patterns bring harsher storms and much longer dry spells, international organisations are helping fight climate change in the tiny nation, the only one in the world where 50 per cent of the land is a nature reserve.

“The seasons are merging, there’s more rain but in short bursts, with long dry periods. Drinking water dries up and the climate plays havoc with breeding and feeding patterns,” said Seychelles climate change expert Rolph Payet.

Recognising the risks, the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility have approved $8.7 million this year for climate change adaptation projects in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

While part of the funds will go to tackling issues affecting Seychellois people such as drought, the rest is earmarked for further research into protecting the vast array of species from the fallout from global warming. “We have a range of animals at risk, from the rare turtles and tortoises which lay their eggs on our beaches, to mountain frogs and birds such as the Black Parrot, which are endemic to the Seychelles,” Payet said....

Part of Port Launay Marine National Park, Mahe, Seychelles, in the early 1970s. Shot by Photography by Dino Sassi - Marcel Fayon, Photo Eden LTD

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