Silhouette, North Island’s bigger sister

Looking towards the south-west from North Island’s west beach, Silhouette Island rises majestically from the ocean as a massive rock. It is, in fact, Seychelles’ fourth largest Island but it differs from the three larger islands (Mahe, Praslin and La Digue) in never having been developed to the same extent. Its human community has always remained small but recently a large luxury hotel has been built there. Nevertheless, the vegetation of the island was not modified to the same extent as the larger islands and it retains a high proportion of indigenous components and endemic plants, including palm forest, elsewhere found only on Praslin, in the Vallee de Mai and Font Ferdinand forests.

From North Island, the form of Silhouette changes minute by minute, day by day, season, sunlight and cloud cover; only its shape remains constant.DSCN0608DSCN0643DSCN0717DSCN0876












The predominance of indigenous forest on Silhouette is probably to North Island’s benefit as far as mynas are concerned. While mynas do occur in upland forest, their preference is for man-made habitats including open areas such as gardens, lawns and farmed land. Their abundance on Silhouette might thus be limited compared with the other large islands.

Our myna eradication on North Island is proceeding well but Silhouette is only seven kilometres away. If, after we have achieved eradication, further mynas appear on North Island, their most likely source will be Silhouette, so the fewer mynas that are there perhaps reduces the likelihood of reinvasion. Nevertheless, North Island must remain vigilant for any signs of reinvasion and remain prepared to act as soon as any new mynas are detected, as is the case on all islands from which mynas have been eradicated. Eradication of mynas from Silhouette could be a clear benefit to North Island, but would also confer huge benefits to Silhouette itself.

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