North Island - December 2015

Dec 24, 2015 North Island
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Perfect picnics
Where better to have a picnic than on a private beach on your own island in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Whether romance is on the agenda (many a successful marriage proposal has been made during a North Island picnic), or a fun family splash-around, you will always have your own stretch of seclusion to enjoy.

With beaches on all four sides of the Island, there will always be spots with perfect conditions for lounging in the shade of a palm tree, or sunny spots in which to snooze. While away the afternoon sipping on the local brew and feasting on culinary delights made just for you by chef Jeremy and his team.

The generously personalised villa pantries have been designed so that you can grab handfuls of treats and snacks and head off with a basket just like you would at home – only with a menu of 55 picnic suggestions on hand, on the off chance that what you fancy isn’t already at your fingertips. Your villa attendant will of course offer to prepare everything for you so that all you have to do is arrive and indulge!

The beautiful faces of North Island
Eliya joined North Island in 2007. That's only half the story though.

In 1993, after completing his service training with the Rainbow Tourism Group and working at the Rainbow Hotel in Victoria Falls as a waiter and bartender, he joined the Ministry of Education to become a primary school teacher. With no work available he joined the police force and worked his way through catering and musketry, to finally join the presidential security detail as the lead driver for the presidential motorcade.

In 2006, he was offered the opportunity to visit North Island by one of the original shareholders of the Island, who had previously enjoyed Eliya’s mixology skills in Zimbabwe. Eliya’s intention had been to stay for only six months before returning to Zimbabwe to open an internet café. I guess North Island wanted him to stay for a little bit longer! Eliya is unique among the North Island staff in being a trained sharp-shooter; happily, these days he only aims for superlative guest service.

The Noah’s Ark Project
North Island has invested a great deal of time and effort into its Noah’s Ark Project to rehabilitate the Island to its original state, prior to historical human settlement. This has included the eradication of feral cats (in 2003) and rats (in 2005) as well as extensive ongoing habitat restoration.

The Seychellois ecosystem has responded positively to the rehabilitation efforts with the number of bird species nesting on the Island rising significantly. With the exception of some invasive plant species, common myna birds are now the only remaining alien species that pose a threat to the native and endemic fauna on the island.

Our next goal is to reintroduce additional endemic bird species onto the Island, although these efforts are currently hampered by the large myna population. Mynas have the potential to negatively affect endangered species; they have been identified as nest site competitors of the Seychelles magpie robin, Seychelles flycatcher, Seychelles warbler, and Seychelles kestrel, and are known to raid nests for eggs and hatchlings, and prey on many other creatures. The IUCN has classified the myna as one of the world’s top 100 invasive species.

They are also highly intelligent, which makes eradicating them a real challenge. The first phase of the eradication will start in May 2016, with experts training our staff in humane trapping techniques. Once the remaining population of mynas numbers less than 50 birds, a second phase will begin, involving the removal of individual mynas by pest control professionals.

Any new mynas that fly across to North Island from adjacent islands will be removed as soon as they are detected to ensure that the Island remains free of the invasive birds, so that native and endemic bird species can thrive.

This will be an important stepping stone on North Island’s journey to once more being an entirely intact granitic island ecosystem, and a pristine haven for Seychellois wildlife – to say nothing of humans!

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