Cousin Island
Cousin Island is a small (27 ha) granitic island of the Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

, lying 2 km SSW of Praslin
Praslin is the second largest island of the Seychelles, lying 44 km north east of Mahé. Praslin has a population of around 6,500 people and comprises two administrative districts; Baie Sainte Anne and Grand' Anse . The main settlements are the Baie Ste Anne, Anse Volbert and Grand' Anse.It was...

. It is a nature reserve
Nature reserve
A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research...

 protected under Seychelles law as a Special Reserve and is run by Nature Seychelles
Nature Seychelles
Nature Seychelles is a registered non-governmental association in Seychelles dedicated to environmental conservation.It is the national partner of Birdlife International and was formed as the replacement of Birdlife Seychelles in 1998....

, a national non-profit organization and Partner of BirdLife International .
Until 1968, Cousin Island was a coconut plantation that had been stripped of most of its native vegetation. The Seychelles Warbler
Seychelles Warbler
The Seychelles Warbler , also known as Seychelles Brush-warbler, is a small songbird found on four granitic and corraline islands in the Seychelles. It is a greenish-brown bird with long legs and a long slender bill. It is primarily found in forested areas on the islands...

 had become almost extinct, with a population of only 26 birds. BirdLife International
BirdLife International
BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources...

, at the time known as the ICBP, bought the island and removed young coconut trees, thus allowing the native vegetation and fauna to flourish. The warbler population has since grown to 3000 birds, and has been saved from extinction. Another nearly extinct endemic bird, the Seychelles Magpie Robin
Seychelles Magpie Robin
The Seychelles Magpie Robin is a medium-sized endangered bird from the granitic Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.This species of magpie robin is approximately 25 cm in length. It has a glossy coal-black plumage with a white-colored bar on each wings. It is considered a long-lived species whose...

, has been re-introduced to Cousin by Nature Seychelles. The island is also known for a very large population of lizard
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with nearly 3800 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains...

s, Aldabra Giant Tortoise
Aldabra Giant Tortoise
The Aldabra giant tortoise , from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world....

s, and is the single most important nesting site for hawksbill turtle
Hawksbill turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E...

s in the Western Indian Ocean. It also hosts over 300,000 nesting seabirds of seven species.

Cousin island has a very popular ecotourism program. The island receives both international and local visitors every morning, Monday to Friday, and is closed on the weekends and public holidays. This programme has won several prizes including the Conde Nast ecotourism award and a Tourism for Tomorrow award.

Cousin is also known as a site for good practices in environmental management and has been the focus of many case studies in books and journals. It is a Demonstration Site for the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) and an Important Bird Area
Important Bird Area
An Important Bird Area is an area recognized as being globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations. Currently there are about 10,000 IBAs worldwide. The program was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International...

(IBA) designated by BirdLife International. It is used by international research organisations and universities as a research base.

Cousin island is now linked to other privately owned islands that contain endemic biodiversity through the Island Conservation Centre on Praslin island, funded by a World Bank/Global Environment Facility project. The Centre aims to increase awareness of conservation efforts on Cousin and elsewhere through displays, educational programs and work with grass roots groups.
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