Bird Island Lodge is proud to be an environmentally and socially responsible tourism operation. As a closed island environment, we are able to say that we alone are responsible for the protection, preservation and enhancement of Bird Island and its surrounding reefs and waters through sustainable management practices.
Eco-design: The hotel buildings were built using local products where possible (Seychelles does not have a big manufacturing industry and needs to import many goods) and using local labour. They were built amongst the gardens of the island and have an open air design so as to avoid the need for air conditioning.
Energy: All hot water is produced by dual solar panels for every two chalets. We recently installed two new and very efficient generators to provide electricity for the whole island, which has reduced our fuel usage enormously. We have no outdoor lighting and provide clients with battery-free torches to get to the bar and restaurant at night. We do not have any air conditioning, fridges, televisions, etc in the rooms so that power usage per chalet is kept to a minimum.
Conservation: Bird Island has been a family business for over 35 years. It has always been run on ecological principles and has always run conservation programmes for various aspects of its wildlife since the early 1970s. Currently we are focusing on programmes to monitor and protect the Sooty Terns, which breed on the island in their thousands during May-Sept; the Green and Hawksbill Turtles, which also come to the island to lay their eggs; the long tailed white tropic bird, which nests on the ground next to trees; the newly introduced Seychelles sunbirds, which we trans-located from the main island in February 2006; weather monitoring and plenty of other programmes. We have guests who volunteer with our turtle monitoring project during the Hawksbill season and we run nature tours on the island at least 4 times a week with our resident conservation officer, Robby. As well as this, we often take research students for a week or more on the island on the basis that they receive free accommodation in return for a final copy of their study.
Ecological sustainability: Bird Island has its own farm, where as many fresh vegetables as possible is grown for the restaurant. We produce spring onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, pak choi, pumpkins, aubergines, chillies, herbs, papayas, and coconuts, to name a few. Another regular feature on our menu is fresh fish, as it is the island's staple food caught on a daily basis by our local fisherman. The kitchen has a composting system in place so that no food is wasted. For drinking water, the island's rain water is collected and treated for suitable use.
Community: We have had a policy for over 35 years to only employ local staff. As we are an island destination, our staff live and work on the island. We provide free accommodation and food and staff with children are allowed to keep their children living with them until the law regulates that they must be educated on the main island. We have a policy of allowing the older children up to the island for weekends and holidays when there is space available on the aircraft and we do not charge our staff for this. We also have a policy whereby we will offer our staff monetary loans if they wish to build a house for themselves on the main island and we do not charge them interest. The working population on the island operates as a small community and we have a very paternalistic approach to ensuring their welfare. We also actively involve our staff in our conservation projects and our conservation officer is responsible for educating new members of staff about their surroundings and the work that we do on the island to conserve this habitat. Our nature tour also contains elements of cultural interest for clients - discussing the medicinal uses of island plants, folk law, traditional methods of land management and fishing.
We are the only private island in the Seychelles to actively maintain a low local rate for Seychellois to come up to the island and experience a different part of their country.
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