ALDABRA ATOLL NAMED AS ‘IMPORTANT MARINE MAMMAL AREA‘
(Posted 20th February 2020)
The Seychelles Island Foundation, guardian and custodian of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites – which includes the Aldabra Atoll – has confirmed that the atoll has now received a 6th global recognition as important area for marina mammals, in particular the dugong.
SIF’s CEO Dr. Frauke Fleischer-Dogley said: "We are delighted with Aldabra’s sixth international designation which specifically recognises the importance of Aldabra’s protected habitats for endangered marine mammals in the region."
Dugong’s also at times described as sea cows, are very rare and can, alongside other marine life, be seen around the Aldabra Atoll – where access however is strictly limited.
Dr. Frauke then added: "Being the only area in Seychelles that is home to probably a resident dugong population, this designation provides us with new impetus to survey the population to understand its migratory patterns and size, a long-standing SIF project"
Aldabra more recently came into the spotlight following plans of establishing a military / naval base, supposedly to be used by India, on the neighbouring island of Assomption which was vehemently opposed by the Seychelles population. Here in particular did the presidential candidate of the One Seychelles Party, Mr. Alain St. Ange continuously challenge the government of the day to drop any plans, be they foreign financed or self financed, to establish such an installation on Assomption, which is just two hours by boat from the Aldabra Atoll.
St. Ange, a former Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, also raised the issue when he met last week with Dr. Sylvia Earle, a renowned marine scientist and globally respected advocate for the oceans, who also agreed that the waters around Aldabra needed added protection and should not be disturbed by naval activities.
The Seychelles islands are existentially threatened by climate change and rising sea levels, which along sections of the beaches of the main island of Mahe has already led to some serious beach erosion.
Low lying Aldabra could go under water later this century should ocean water levels continue to rise as the global ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland continue to melt at record pace.