UPDATE: Marine Biodiversity Baseline assessment around Fregate Island Private
In May, our Conservation Team carried out a pilot study to find suitable survey sites for the upcoming marine life baselines assessment around Fregate Island Private.
Specialists from The Green Island’s Foundation and the University of Seychelles joined the team for the surveys, which involved diving twice a day and deploying Baited Remote Underwater vehicles (BRUVs).
BRUVs are tripods with an underwater video camera attached to film species that visit a bait canister at the end of the tripod.
In total 12 BRUVs were deployed during the week, resulting in 18 hours of footage to analyze.
On first look, parts of the reef have a high diversity of coral reef fish species like bannerfish, butterflyfish, angelfish and excitingly several shark species. During the dive surveys, the team concentrated on the diversity and health of the corals around the dive sites. With the survey sites now confirmed, in November 2019 the work begins with 3D mapping the sites with Blue nomads and Coralive.org, shortly followed by further BRUV and dive surveys. The aim of this SeyCCAT* funded assessment is to compare the marine life around Fregate Island Private with other islands in the Seychelles, with a view to apply for a marine protected area around the island protecting the coral reef for future generations.
*SeyCCAT envisions for Seychelles’ ocean and islands to be stewarded by the people of Seychelles, generating sustainable benefits for future generations to share. SeyCCAT strategically invests in ocean stakeholders to generate new learning, bold action and sustainable blue prosperity in Seychelles.
For more information on SeyCCAT: https://bit.ly/2LPyvK6
Aldabra Giant Tortoise Study on Fregate Island Private
With over 4.000 tortoises on the island, it can be difficult to keep track of the actual population size. One way to estimate the population is to setup a comprehensive tortoise population-monitoring program.
In July, a new project to count tortoises on fixed 100 meter transects was setup across the island through various habitats. Over the next few months, the team will walk along transects, marking tortoises with a unique number, which will help to understand the movement of tortoises between transects and the numbers of tortoises encountered.
“In large numbers, Aldabra giant tortoises are excellent engineers of their ecosystem. We have many tortoises on the island, so it is essential to understand how they use the island and what types of habitat they prefer. Having this information helps us improve and advance our environmental restoration program on the Island” said Conservation Manager, Richard Baxter.
Fregate Island Private appoints new Managing Director
As of 01st of July, South African born Seychelles-expert, Hilton Grant Hastings, will be the new Managing Director of a prestige Island, Fregate Island Private.
Fregate Island, Seychelles - 06th of June 2019
The island gem Fregate Island Private, in Seychelles, is with new management as of 01st of July. Hilton Grant Hastings has been appointed the island’s new Managing Director. He will take over from the current Managing Director Wayne Kafcsak, who over the past five years has not only decisively shaped the resort and successfully established it on the international market, but also stood for continuity, which is important for a private island of this format.
Hastings knows the Seychelles islands very well, as he has not only been at the Constance Lemuria Resort on Praslin for seven years, but also was in charge of the opening of Six Senses Zil Pa- syon on Felicite island.
Further stops for the 45-year-old included the Anjajavy l‘Hôtel in Madagascar, the Constance Moofushi Resort in the Maldives and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam.
The passionate sailor and diver is married to a PhD marine biologist and his mission is to bring even more attention to the species and nature conservation work on Fregate Island.
"For 40 years, Fregate Island Private has lived a sustainable vision. We would like to communicate this more strongly and make more steps forward in the protection of our pristine nature. Numerous conservation projects were successfully launched here, and these need to be continuously supported. In addition, we will focus even more on the protection of the sea" Hastings said, who is now also Head of over 4,000 endangered Aldabra giant tortoises.
Also from the culinary part, it is going to be very exciting under Hastings management, he sets even more excitement on products that are grown on Fregate itself, fresh from our gardens or the sea to the table, that speaks for itself and guarantees that we will be the topic of conversations.
The father of two daughters, grew up in Zululand and is fluent in English, French and Afrikaans, Zulu, Malagassi and also a little Italian – a natural linguist. In his spare time, he is drawn to the sea, often in the direction of Madagascar, which has become his second home.
Fregate Island Private donates thirty Aldabra giant tortoises to assist ecosystem recovery projects on neighboring island
In conjunction with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Island Biodiversity and Conservation Centre of the University of Seychelles, and Le Château de Feuilles, we translocated 30 sub-adult Aldabra giant tortoises from Fregate Island Private to Grand Soeur (Big Sister) island to help restore the ecosystem on Grand Soeur and protect this iconic species.
The tortoises are being looked after in a quarantine enclosure for a few weeks to ensure they haven’t brought any unwanted plant species to their new home. After this, they will be released to explore their new home.
Fregate Island has the second largest free-roaming Aldabra giant tortoise population in the world after Aldabra which is home to 100,000 tortoises. Fregate Island Private has over 20 years of experience in island habitat restoration.
Aldabra giant tortoises are engineers of their environment and ideal for island ecosystem restoration projects. They are highly adaptable; they can be easily translocated and easily controlled. Tortoises have a set of behaviors that enhance the habitat restoration projects such as seed dispersal, moving nutrients around, and structuring vegetation communities.
Guests on Grand Soeur will also be able to walk with these free-roaming charismatic and vital Seychelles’ animals.