Meet Steve Hill, resident permaculturist at Six Senses Zil Pasyon: a man on a mission to restore the endemic habitat of Félicité into the ecological jewel of Seychelles.
“Watch this space, this will be Nature’s own island,” promises Steve Hill. Complete with his Indiana Jones look, Steve has dedicated 10 years to the conservation restoration of Félicité Island. As the resident permaculturist at Six Senses Zil Payson, the group’s most recent resort opening, he identifies and removes invasive species and replaces them with indigenous plants from his vast supply of seedlings and saplings.
His vision? To re-establish an authentic Seychelles environment with native or endemic plants, shrubs and trees. This is a refreshing departure from the artificial landscapes found in other resorts in the region, setting Six Senses apart in terms of eco-responsibility.
It hasn’t been easy. The landscaping team had to remove the tangled mass of invasive Coco plum to re-establish more delicate endemic species, which were collected from seeds from other Seychelles islands.
But it has been worth it. The biodiversity at Félicité Island is now authentic, rich and varied. The habitats are productive, allowing the reintroduction of rare birds that had previously vanished from Félicité as their original habitats deteriorated and disappeared. Now it is not uncommon for guests to see (and hear!) Seychelles Magpie Robin, Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles Whiteye, Seychelles Warbler and Seychelles Fody. The island is becoming an Eden in full song.
The eradication of Coco plum has improved the coastal habitat, and guests at Six Senses will welcome the return of nesting seabirds, such as the charismatic Fairy Tern, the White-tailed tropicbird and the Wedge-tailed shearwater. The island’s Grand Anse beach already attracts a population of nesting hawksbill sea turtles. Now there are exciting plans to reintroduce the native giant tortoise. Félicité is indeed a fitting name!
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