Moyenne island declared a national park |28 July 2009
Felicia Lafortune, widow of Mr Grimshaw’s close friend Rene Lafortune, was also present.
Mr Grimshaw told the group gathered at his home it is exactly a year since he signed an agreement with Minister Morgan to designate the island as a national park.
He said in the past 35 years since he got here, Moyenne has changed from being waterless bush to the lush vegetation seen today.
He explained that there were only a few trees there at that time, but he and Mr Lafortune managed to plant a total of 16,000 all around the island.
“We brought in 45 endemic plants to the island and now they are all over the place,” said Mr Grimshaw, adding that it has now become a beautiful nature reserve. He invited all Seychellois to visit as Moyenne is freely open to them, while tourists have to pay a landing fee of €10.
He told the gathering that many trees have been labelled to help people identify them, but he has had to remove some labels as many plants have medicinal properties and visitors were scraping off the bark.
Mr Morgan said the designation of Moyenne as a national park was made possible by a final declaration signed on May 22. This marked an important event in the history of conservation in Seychelles, he added.
“We look forward to supporting other private island owners with their conservation programme,” he said, adding that his ministry is now helping several of these programmes to protect our diversity for future generations.
He thanked Mr Grimshaw for entrusting the government with the future protection of the island, which he said has now become a new jewel in our network of protected areas.
Moyenne island national park boasts 40 endemic palm trees, including 13 coco de mer and others such as bwa bannann and bwadnat.
A total of 110 giant tortoises were brought to the island, where they live in their natural habitat, and there is also a variety of bird species.
Moyenne has a small museum, a cemetery and a church, while Creole Travel Services runs a restaurant on the island.
Legend has it that pirates have buried treasure on Moyenne, and many stories have been told about ghostly apparitions there.
Mr Grimshaw bought Moyenne in 1962 but came to settle on it in 1973. His father Raymond spent his last five years on the island and is buried there.
After the ceremony, all the guests toured the new national park.