Curieuse Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Curieuse Island is a small granitic island (1.78 sq mi) in the Seychelles close to the north coast of the island of Praslin. Curieuse is notable for its bare red earth intermingled with the unique Coco de Mer palms, one of the cultural icons of the Seychelles, only being present on the two islands.

Praslin & Curieuse

History[edit]

Originally named "Ile Rouge" due to its red coloured soil.[1] In 1768 the French claimed possession of the island, naming it after the schooner "La Curieuse", a ship that was under the command of explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne. Like a number of islands in the Seychelles, there was a native giant tortoise population that was quickly extirpated.

In 1771 sailors set fire to the island, intending to make harvesting of the Coco de Mer nuts easier. The fire destroyed many of the islands' native trees, and indications of the fire can still be seen today, nearly 250 years later.[2]

In 1833, Curieuse was first used as a leper colony, and it functioned in this capacity until 1965. Today, ruins of the leprosarium remain, as well as the former physician's residence at Anse St. Joseph (now an educational center and museum).

Conservation[edit]

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

In 1979, Curieuse and surrounding waters were declared the Curieuse Marine National Park in order to protect the native wildlife. In the late 1970s, a conservation project was initiated for the relocation of tortoises from Aldabra to Curieuse. Today, it is the home of roughly 500 Aldabra Giant Tortoise, 300 of which live at the Ranger's Station and approximately 200 in the wild. On the southern part of the island is a mangrove swamp that is traversed by a walkway for park visitors. The island is also known for Coco de Mer palms, giant takamaka trees, a large hawksbill turtle rookery and several bird species, such as the rare Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopis nigra barklyi, a parrot found only here and on Praslin.

Most visitors to the Curieuse Marine National Park disembark at Baie Laraie, where the shallow water is known for its population of large humphead parrotfish, growing up to 1.2 m in length. At the rangers headquarters a number of giant tortoises move about. There is a trail from Baie Laraie to Anse St. José on the other side of the island passing over the boardwalk through the thick mangrove forest. The ruins of the leper colony is now well blended into the landscape and includes Creole colonial architecture which consists of a doctor's house turned into a museum containing all the information about Curieuse Island.[3] On the beach in front of the Doctor's House, sea turtles lay their eggs. There is also currently a satellite camp for the Seychelles branch of Global Vision International, a volunteer group that focuses on conservation of the island and surveys local fish, coral, turtle and coco de mer numbers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ seychelles.travel. "The Islands of the Seychelles - Curieuse". Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  2. ^ Carpin, Sarah,(1998) Seychelles, Odyssey Guides, p.141, , The Guidebook Company Limited, Retrieved on June 22, 2008
  3. ^ Carpin, Sarah,(1998) Seychelles, Odyssey Guides, p.141, , The Guidebook Company Limited, Retrieved on June 22, 2008

Coordinates: 4°16′S 55°44′E / 4.267°S 55.733°E / -4.267; 55.733