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Location Seychelles, Mahé
Central coordinates 55o 25.00' East  4o 38.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 4,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 914m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Seychelles



Site description This site occupies the north-western and central part of Mahé (c.20% of the whole island) and contains Morne Seychellois National Park (3,090 ha), which includes the highest mountain of Seychelles (914 m). Its steep slopes are covered with dense secondary forests and shrub woodland, interrupted by impressive cliffs and granite boulders (glacis). This IBA also includes the mountainous area to the south-east, between the former Satellite Tracking Station (New Savy), Cascade, Montagne Planeau, Grand Bois, Castor, Varigault and Mont Sébert. This area lies outside the national park, but a project exists to partially protect it. The adjacent areas of La Misère and Cascade, also included, are mainly occupied by man-modified habitats, such as residential areas, orchards, small-scale agriculture and cattle farms, tea plantations, roads, powerlines and other infrastructure. Forests of low and intermediate altitudes are dominated by exotic, invasive trees (mainly Cinnamomum verum, Paraserianthes falcataria and Alstonia macrophylla), shrubs (the invasive exotic Chrysobalanus icaco), and huge granite boulders but, above 600 m in the Morne Seychellois National Park, stands of primary moist forest with few exotics still remain. Endemic species include Medusagyne oppositifolia and Vateriopsis sechellarum (both very rare), Dillenia ferruginea and Northea hornei (more common), Phoenicophorium borsigianum and Nephrosperma vanhoutteanum, Erythroxylum sechellarum, Nepenthes pervillei and Secamone schimperianus. During the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries extensive exploitation of timber and cinnamon production took place. Present human activities (forestry, nature conservation/research, tourism and a little tea cultivation), are limited to less than 10 % of the total area of the IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Seychelles Kestrel Falco araea resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Seychelles Blue-pigeon Alectroenas pulcherrima resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 
Seychelles Scops-owl Otus insularis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Endangered 
Seychelles Swiftlet Collocalia elaphra resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Seychelles Bulbul Hypsipetes crassirostris resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 
Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modestus resident  2005  50 individuals  unknown  A1, A2  Endangered 
Seychelles Sunbird Nectarinia dussumieri resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Morne Seychellois National Park 3,045 protected area contained by site 3,045  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -
not utilised -

Other biodiversity Four species of frogs and six species of caecilians endemic to Seychelles occur. The IBA is the main stronghold for the rare endemic tiger chameleon Chamaeleo tigris and contains important populations of the endemic snakes Lamprophis geometricus and Lycognathophis seychellensis. Several endemic skinks and geckos are also present. The site also hosts small numbers of the bat Coleura seychellensis seychellensis (CR) and large numbers of the bat Pteropus seychellensis.

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Beaver and Chong-Seng (1990–1992), Fanchette et al. (2000), Fourmy (1999), Loustau-Lalanne (1962), Mee (1996), Mellamby et al. (1997), Rocamora (1997a, b), Skerrett and Bullock (1992), Watson (1981a).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mahé highlands and surrounding areas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2014

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