Endangered Species

The Seychelles has a number of its species listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red List.  Many of these species are being threatened by natural factors, such as climate change, as well as anthropogenic factors including pressure from introduced invasive species.

The granitic islands of Seychelles have around 75 endemic plant species, with Silhouette island a particular centre of diversity, and around 25 more endemic species are found in the Aldabra group.  More species are continually being discovered, and these are generally very rare. Critically endangered plant species include the jellyfish tree Medusagynae oppositifolia, the Seychelles balsam Impatiens gordinii, and Wright’s gardenia Rothmannia annae, which is found only on Aride island. Endangered species include the orchid Hederorkis seychellensis. The well-known Coco de Mer, incorrectly named Lodoicea maldivica but which actually grows only on the islands of Praslin and Curieuse, as considered Vulnerable, due mainly to poaching activities (the giant nuts are valuable in producing kernel (which is considered an aphrodisiac in oriental medicine) and the dried nuts are sold to tourists as a curiosity.

Endemic bird species at risk include the Seychelles black parrot – found only on Praslin and Curieuse and recently recognised as a distinct species – Seychelles magpie robin, Seychelles paradise flycatcher, Seychelles fody, Seychelles scops owl, Seychelles white-eye, Seychelles swiftlet, Seychelles kestrel and Seychelles blue pigeon.  The Seychelles parakeet unfortunately became extinct in the late 1800s.  Many of these endemic birds have been translocated between islands to build up numbers and guard against local critical events.

There are only four endemic land mammals in Seychelles, all of them bats, of which the Seychelles sheath-tail bat Coleura seychellensis is Critically endangered and known in persist only in 3 roosts on Mahe and Silhouette.

The Aldabra giant tortoise Aldabrachelys gigantea has now been introduced to many islands and is not considered endangered. Five turtle species occur in Seychelles of which the Endangered Hawksbill turtle is the most com mon nesting species.  There are five endemic species of frogs and six endemic species of caecilians, which may be considered vulnerable to climate change or to the introduction of viruses which can be lethal to amphibians.

Large marine mammals, whales and dolphins, are vulnerable to global threats. The waters around the Seychelles are visited by the following threatened species: Southern sei whale Balaenoptera borealis schlegelii (Endangered), Southern fin whale Balaenoptera physalus quoyi  (Endangered), Southern blue whale Balaenoptera musculus intermedia (Endangered), and the Sperm whale Physeter microcephalus (Vulnerable). The Critically Endangered Dugong Dugong dugon has a small breeding colony in Aldabra lagoon where it is fortunately well protected.

More than 1000 species of fish have been recorded. Many of the local fish species are vulnerable to over-fishing, even though the use of spear-guns and dynamite has been banned since the 1960s. The use of gill nets for shark fishing as well as the practice of shark finning are now banned, although they still occur due to difficulties in enforcement of the law, and shark numbers have declined by 90% or more throughout Seychelles’ waters. Coral bleaching events in 1998 and 2016 have unfortunately severely damaged coral reefs and reduced the habitat for coral fish species.

Link to IUCN Red Data List here