Home Sci-TechEnvironment Seychelles Islands Foundation Says 50 Coco De Mer Poached in 2020

Seychelles Islands Foundation Says 50 Coco De Mer Poached in 2020

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The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) recorded an increase in the poaching of the endemic coco de mer in the Vallee de Mai special reserve on Praslin for the year 2020 during restrictions on movement to curb the increase of COVID-19 infections.

The Foundation which manages the site recorded 50 poaching incidents between April and August when restrictions on movement were imposed in Seychelles after the island nation started recording positive COVID-19 cases. There were only two such poaching incidents in 2019.

“Based on the drastic decrease in tourists and many people losing income from the ongoing pandemic, we surmise that more people are desperate to find alternative means of income, even if this means being involved in illegal activities,” said Fleischer-Dogley, SIF’s chief executive.

The coco de mer, the world’s biggest nut which grows naturally on in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is a dioecious species which means it has both a male and female plant. It is already on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

Aside from Praslin, the nut grows naturally on only one other island, Curieuse, a national park located very close to Praslin. Its status as king of the palms and a giant in the plant kingdom makes it a major attraction for holidaymakers.

Fleischer-Dogley said Vallee de Mai is the most targeted place for poachers and very well-known for its considerable coco de mer population.