We were recently on La Digue to witness the launch of an after-school club called the “Friends of the Flycatcher.” Presently 20-member strong, the club has been formed to involve children in activities that will help conserve the Critically Endangered Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher and its habitat.
The club has been set up as part of an advocacy and education project being implemented by Nature Seychelles and the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) under the BirdLife International (Nature Seychelles is BirdLife partner) Preventing Extinctions Programme. The work is being supported by Viking Optical of the UK who are Species Champion.
The flycatcher, known as Vev in Creole, is regarded as an icon of La Digue by the local people. This project is enhancing its protection by engaging local people. The club will be based at La Digue School and will be run by Josiana of the SNPA as well as three teachers from the school.
At the launch club members were kitted with colourful t-shirts that announce they’ve “friended” the flycatcher and presented with an educational booklet titled Vital Vev – Environmental Activities to Help Protect the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher.
The booklet is full of fun activities that will help club members understand the Vev and other Seychelles wildlife. It includes information and games appropriate for children aged five to fifteen, which will help the children to make the connection between species, their habitats, food and the environment in general.
The headteacher of La Digue School Mr. Michel Madeleine encouraged the members of the club to reach out to their friends and families to influence a wider involvement in the Vev’s protection.
In the fight against extinction the Friends of the Flycatcher are in good company because Angry Birds are also rooting for the Vev.