Coco de mer poachers caught red-handed


10-March-2012

While patrolling the road through the National Park, the security staff apprehended the two men in the Fond Peper area of the Vallée de Mai World Heritage Site and detained them until police officers arrived on the scene to arrest the suspects.

The men were found in possession of three coco de mer. SIF staff were able to identify the coco de mer palm from which the nuts had been cut and found emptied coco de mer husks in the forest close to the tree which had been raided.

“Poaching is one of the most serious threats to the continued existence of the coco de mer,” said SIF chief executive Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley.

“Continued theft of coco de mer nuts will eventually drive the species into extinction unless action is taken to stop it. The SIF staff did an excellent job to detain the suspected poachers and assist the police on the crime scene. I’m very happy with the work they have done and with the rapid response by the Praslin police and I hope that the case be successfully followed through to prosecution,” she said.

Threatened by theft and fire, the coco de mer has recently been “uplisted” from vulnerable to endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the organisation’s most recent update of its Red List, which evaluates the conservation status of biological species.

“The coco de mer and the Vallée de Mai are vitally important to Praslin’s tourism industry, are unique symbols of Seychelles and are a natural wonder which need our protection. I hope that all agencies involved can work together with the help and support of the people of Praslin to protect and conserve this incredible species,” said Dr Fleischer-Dogley.

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