The Seychelles archipelago is composed of 50 coralline and 40 granitic islands in the Indian Ocean, and has a population of 80,000. Cousin Island is a granitic island covering 67 acres. It became the world’s first internationally owned reserve when the International Council for the Protection of Birds (now Birdlife International) bought it in 1968. The objective was to save the last of the Seychelles warblers. The island, formerly a coconut plantation, was afforded further protection in 1974, when it was designated a Special Reserve. It is significant not only for sea birds and endemic land birds, but also as the most important breeding site for hawksbill turtles in the western Indian Ocean.
Today, Nature Seychelles, an NGO that is the Birdlife International partner in Seychelles, manages Cousin Island. The island attracts some 10,000 visitors per year, as well as local educational groups and residents. To mitigate the effect of staff and visitors on the island, Nature Seychelles is implementing clean energy, rainwater harvesting, and sewage treatment. Seacology will provide funding for eight composting toilets and signage to enhance the experience of visitors.