In tandem with creating a world-class private-island experience for luxury travellers, North Island focused its efforts on creating a sanctuary for endangered native species on the Island. Take a look back through the major events in our 20-year history:
North Island Time Line
The first data was collected on endangered Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles. Monitoring was sporadic at first due to the non-existent road network on the Island – it would take approx. 2 hours to walk to West Beach through thick coconut forest! In 2004, data collection was standardised with the help of turtle conservation expert, Dr. Jeanne Mortimer.
The nursery was established on North, with the original stock of trees coming from Silhouette and Mahé. Subsequently all seeds and cuttings are collected from North Island and between 39 and 52 species of indigenous/endemic tree species are kept at all times. Up to 12000 trees are stocked per month!
Giant Aldabra Tortoises
North Island also welcomed more Giant Aldabra Tortoises to the family in 2003. Historically there were many tortoises on the Island as per records from passing ships, but only 3 remained in 1997 (including iconic Brutus who is believed to be 160-180 years old!). 12-15 tortoises were donated from Mahé in 2003, with a further 7 from Anonyme Island in 2007 and 38 from Silhouette Island in 2011.
North Island was officially declared rat-free in September 2006, making it the largest island with hills in the world to eradicate the black rat. No small feat. It took several helicopter drops and over 8500 rat traps! Strict controls have been in place ever since to ensure the Island remains rat-free.
The critically endangered Seychelles White-eye was successfully reintroduced to North Island in July. From just 25 birds, the population is now over 5 times its original size. Brought back from the brink of extinction, these tiny charismatic birds now have healthy and self-sustaining numbers that are on the rise.
The endangered Coco-de-Mer tree species was planted on the Island over a 2-year period from 2006 to 2008, with the aim of establishing a reproductively active population. Iconic to the Seychelles, it has the largest nut in the plant kingdom and is the subject of many legends and lore. 13 of the 46 nuts planted germinated.
Scientific Marine Surveys
Since 2011, North Island has conducted biannual scientific marine surveys to monitor the diversity and abundance of fish, corals and invertebrates on our reefs over time. In addition, the Dive Centre monitors endangered species when out on dives with guests, who can also contribute by using fish slates to identify key species.
In partnership with Wildlife Act, North Island welcomed its first environmental volunteer, one of … annually in the years to come. Dedicated ecotourists contribute to endangered species monitoring, marine conservation and ecosystem restoration through their daily activities which range from tortoise tracking and location mapping to snorkelling and identifying key fish species on North Island’s reefs.
Refurbish and Refresh
North Island underwent a full refurbishment that refreshed the Island from interior to exterior and re-emphasised a sense of place. From a new colour palette to designer bathroom fittings, crisp linens to new uniforms, fresh thatching to brand new decks, a fresh dining concept to more one-of-a-kind experiences.
Vivreau Water Purification Technology
To reduce the consumption of bottled water on the Island, North Island installed Vivreau water purification technology offering guests fresh drinking water in reusable glass bottles, straight from the Island’s aquifer. This initiative resulted in an 84% reduction in bottled water consumption on North Island, representing some 272kg of plastic saved in 2015 alone
Efficient Waste Management
North Island upscaled it’s already stringent recycling efforts with the acquisition of a crusher and incinerator. Efficient waste management minimises the impact on the Island through recycling grey water for irrigation, composting organic waste and crushing and incinerating inorganic waste. The rest is sorted and shipped off the Island for recycling on Mahé.
Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations
North Island acquired its own BRUVs (Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations) to monitor predatory species such as sharks, groupers, and octopus around the Island. North Island has been conducting surveys annually (?) since …, but invested in its own equipment so that these species can be monitored more regularly.
Removal of the Invasive Comma Myna
North Island successfully removed the invasive Comma Myna – its 3rd attempt, showcasing the resilience of this bird species. With only 3 birds left on the Island, it is believed to be the reason behind the surge in Seychelles White-eye numbers and the boom in the Seychelles Blue Pigeon population.