Vallée de Mai

  • Marc Jean-Baptiste
    Site Manager

    Marc has been working for SIF since 2008, when he worked as Island Manager on Aldabra. Before this he worked as the Praslin Environment Coordinator at the Ministry of Environment and Transport, and as the Vice Chairman at Terrestrial Restoration Action Society Seychelles (TRASS). Marc has an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent. He is passionate about his work and has ensured a high standard of customer service at the Vallée de Mai during his time as Site Manager, which has resulted in the site being awarded TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for seven years. Marc also created and spearheaded an anti-poaching taskforce which has been successful in reducing coco de mer poaching incidents in the forest.

  • Jessica Constance
    Vallée de Mai Science Coordinator

    Jessica joined SIF in 2012 as an Invasive Species Technical Officer. From thereon, until 2015 she led two successful eradication projects. Working with SIF gave Jessica the opportunity to pursue future studies, and earn the David Stoddart scholarship to study at the University of Seychelles. After graduating with Honours in BSc Environmental Science, she re-joined as a Field Research Officer. Working with SIF has given Jessica the privilege of working with both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and has given her the chance to express her passion for nature and conservation.

    In 2021, she was promoted to Vallée de Mai Science Coordinator, and hopes to bring forward that additional value that research work brings to the reserve, and create a strong research foundation in our research staff.

  • Maria Brioche
    Education and Outreach Coordinator

    Maria joined SIF in April 2011 as the education and outreach programme officer on Praslin. Maria is responsible for outreach to tourists, school children and the Praslin community in general. She aims to raise people’s awareness of the work being done by SIF at both sites. She is also responsible for educating school children about the flora and fauna of the Vallée de Mai and Aldabra. Prior to joining SIF Maria was a schoolteacher for 12 years, where she was responsible for both the wildlife club and the Eco-school programme. Her love for the environment and her experience as an educator has led Maria to dedicating her time to promoting environmental education for SIF. Maria is known for her social skills and her incredible ability to make people feel at ease and comfortable, especially small children who love to discover the Vallée de Mai with her. In 2022, she was promoted to Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Vallée de Mai.

  • Maria Monthy
    Assistant Vallée de Mai Science Coordinator

    Maria joined SIF in 2022 as a Field Research Officer, and was later promoted to AVSC in December. Before joining SIF, she was a Forestry Officer under the UNDP-funded project “Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project to Climate Change”, where she supervised forest rehabilitation at various sites on Mahé, through removing invasive species and planting fast-growing endemics and natives in attempt to increase water efficiency. Maria holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science from the University of Seychelles. Her knowledge and experience in creative and scientific writing makes her an asset to the team when it comes to report and article writing. She is passionate about her work and enjoys being out in nature, and she is thoroughly enjoying her experience at the Vallée de Mai, as it provides a balance of both field and office work.

  • Terance Payet
    Assistant Field Research Officer

    Terance is a senior ranger in the Vallée de Mai. He joined SIF in October 2011 as a field worker and later the same year became a ranger. As a research team member he plays a major role in ongoing research and monitoring programmes on fauna and flora in the Vallée de Mai. Terance is a key member of the black parrot breeding team and now leads this monitoring programme in the field each year. Terance has completed the Durrell Endangered Species Management (DESMAN) course based at Jersey Zoo in the UK and he was trained as an EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) fellow focussing on black parrots under a recent national project as part of the Darwin Initiative. Terance has also received specialised training in climbing and mist-netting, but most importantly, has a natural passion for the wonderful black parrots. He is one of the most knowledgeable staff in the field and in every field session with Terance one will discover something new.

  • Shanone Hibonne
    Assistant Field Research Officer

    Shanone joined the Vallée de Mai team in 2014 as the Invasive Species Technical Officer (ISTO) under the European Union Invasive Alien Species(IAS) project, later merging with the Inva’Zil project until 2018, as an ISTO she contributed to the control and eradication of several invasive alien species, especially plants.  After the extensive IAS projects completed, Shanone participated in the black parrot, coco de mer, herpetofauna and phenology monitoring. Following years of dedication towards her work, she was awarded the David Stoddart Scholarship to pursue a BSc Environmental Science at the University of Seychelles. Shanone re-joined the team in 2022 after taking one year deferment from her studies, and is currently an Assistant Field Research Officer.

  • Monica Griffith
    Black Parrot Officer

    Monica is a conservation ecologist who first joined the team at the Vallée de Mai in 2018. Before moving to the Seychelles, she worked in Mauritius on the Echo Parakeet recovery project where she learnt to climb trees to access nest boxes, to handle and ring parrots and to monitor their breeding attempts. With this background, it was a natural progression to take up a post with SIF where she could put these skills to use and work with the iconic Seychelles black parrot. Despite the challenges of the role, Monica loves working with the black parrots as they continue to surprise us with new behaviour, and is keen to help increase our knowledge of Seychelles’ national bird.

Mahé

  • Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley
    Chief Executive Officer

    Frauke is a trained conservation biologist who was appointed a trustee on the board of SIF in 2003. Since 2007 she has led SIF as chief executive officer. Improving the management effectiveness of Seychelles' World Heritage Sites is her mission. She believes in science-based management decisions, innovation, and the need to rigorously review established practices to advance conservation management. Her PhD research substantially advanced understanding of the population management of the coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica), Seychelles flagship species and has been published in several scientific papers. She has over 15 years of experience in protected area management and has also worked in the fields of tourism planning, ecotourism and international cooperation with the Government of Seychelles. In addition she has served on many national steering committees and is also a member of the National Environment Advisory Council and the Seychelles Climate Change Adaptation Trust. Frauke steers SIF steadily through stormy seas of the innumerable ups and downs inherent to managing two World Heritage sites with very different challenges. Among her strengths are keeping the bigger picture in mind and being present and approachable for her staff, thereby getting to know each of them on an individual level.

  • Dr Nancy Bunbury
    Consulting Director of Research and Conservation

    Nancy is an island conservation biologist who has led SIF's research and conservation work at both sites since 2008. Before this, she worked on avian conservation in Mauritius for 5 years, where she completed her PhD research on diseases in pink pigeons. She specialises in endangered species conservation and management, invasive alien species control, and improving management of protected areas. She has led many projects, including several successful invasive species eradications, for SIF; part of her work is to secure funding for these projects at both sites. She is a driving force behind much of SIF’s research work, and has co-authored numerous scientific papers. Her underlying approach is to apply or obtain scientific evidence wherever possible to inform and improve conservation and, in doing so, to try to bridge the gap between science and implementation. Nancy is the main contact point for SIF’s international research collaborations and projects.

  • Bernadette Julie
    Senior Administrative and Human Resources Officer

    Bernadette has been senior administration and human resources officer at SIF since October 2014. Prior to working with SIF she had 25 years of experience working in human resources and administration. Her role is to facilitate staff matters, including, recruitment, promotion, training and development. Bernadette also advises SIF managers on staff matters; provides technical advice to the CEO, prepares contracts and arranges work permits if needed. Bernadette is a caring colleague and very supportive to all staff in any situation!

  • Lydia Charlette
    Executive Assistant

    Joining us in March 2024, Lydia brings over 32 years of public sector experience to SIF as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. With a Diploma in General Management, her diverse background and involvement with various organizations and ministries, equip her with a wealth of knowledge and skills necessary for effective management and coordination within SIF. Her role involves providing high-level support to the CEO, overseeing administrative functions, and facilitating efficient communication within SIF. Driven by her passion for professional growth and commitment to excellence, Lydia aspires to further enhance her skills and contribute positively to the success of SIF.

  • Christina Quanz
    Head of Projects

    Christina started working for SIF in 2008 as a volunteer and is now the Projects Coordinator, responsible for overseeing all ongoing projects at SIF. Christina previously worked on Aldabra for four years to implement a renewable energy system which today supplies 98% of Aldabra's electricity demand with solar power. This was also part of her MSc thesis. Being very passionate about nature and especially small tropical islands, Christina feels very lucky to have found this unique place to work, where the protection of Seychelles' biggest treasures is the day to day priority and work is never routine but interesting, challenging and meaningful.

  • Elsa Pool
    Tourism Coordinator

    Elsa joined SIF in February 2021 as the Executive Assistant. In late 2023, she took on the role of Tourism Coordinator, addressing the need for centralized coordination of tourism activities across SIF’s sites. With a BSc in Business Management and an MSc in Sustainable Environmental Management from the University of Plymouth, Elsa brings expert knowledge and her experience with the organization fosters collaboration among all sites, spearheading the management of tourism activities. Her international exposure has cultivated a deep appreciation for Seychelles, positioning her perfectly to enhance tourism experiences while preserving the islands' natural beauty, and ensuring SIF remains at the forefront of sustainable tourism practices in Seychelles.

  • Ronny Rose
    Operations and Logistics Officer

    Ronny is the operations and logistics officer and joined SIF in October 2016. Ronny is responsible for managing head office, Vallée de Mai and Aldabra logistics, including coordinating and organising the process of transportation of supplies and equipment to both sites. Ronny has to maintain effective communications with the managers of both sites and at head office to ensure efficient daily operations. He is looking forward to building a solid career and to contributing to the development of SIF. He believes that anything can be achieved with noble work ethics and team effort.

  • Julio Agricole
    Operations & Logistics Manager

    Julio joined the SIF team in 2012 as a ranger on Aldabra. Since then, he has been involved in and led several successful eradication projects conducted by SIF. After graduating with honours in BSc Environmental Science at the University of Seychelles, he became Acting Site Manager for the Vallée de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site. His role was to organize and supervise all departments in the Vallée de Mai to ensure that they all run effectively and efficiently. Julio also acts as relief manager for Aldabra when needed. He is now leading the Operations and Logistics team at the SIF head office on Mahé.

  • Thiwanka Rajapaksha
    Chief Finance Officer

    Thiwanka joined SIF in May 2022 as the Financial Controller. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Facilities Management and Associate membership in Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA) in the UK. Prior to joining SIF, he worked with the Seychelles Ministry of Finance for several years, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Sri Lanka. In in his role, Thiwanka finds it interesting to engage with all departments across the sites, and as a finance professional, he looks forward to learn and experience more on marine conservation!    

  • Dylis Cedras
    Head of Commerce and Tourism

    Dylis is responsible for planning, implementing and directing all sales activities in SIF, including conducting research and developing products and services that will enhance visitor’s experience in the Vallée de Mai, Fond Ferdinand and Aldabra. Her role at SIF extends to the development of advertising media and working with promotional agents both locally and overseas to attract more visitors to the Vallée de Mai and Fond Ferdinand. Dylis holds a BSC (Hons) Degree in Business Administration with Marketing, and a Masters in Business Administration.  She conducted her master’s thesis on the Vallée de Mai, where she investigated the local community's perception of tourism impacts on the site. Dylis first joined SIF in August 2015 as the Sales and Marketing Officer

  • Dr Annabelle Constance
    Head of Science and Conservation

    Annabelle first joined SIF in 2011 as an Assistant Project Officer on a European Union-funded project addressing the problem of invasive species on Aldabra and in Vallée de Mai. Since, she has held several positions until her recent appointment as Science Coordinator to oversee research and monitoring across all three managed sites.

    Annabelle is a conservation and spatial ecologist with a background in mangrove ecology, remote sensing, and coastal vegetation dynamics. In 2022, Annabelle completed her Ph.D. in natural sciences at the University of Zurich, where she researched the mangrove and coastline systems on Aldabra Atoll. Annabelle was the first to be awarded SIF’s David Stoddart Scholarship to follow a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at UniSey – a degree tailored to Small Island Developing States. She then completed an MSc in Environmental Sciences at the University of Zurich.

    Annabelle’s approach to her position is to implement strategies to increase the use of evidence from long-term monitoring and research into the management of species populations, habitats, and ecosystems of Seychelles’ UNESCO World Heritage sites. She plans to achieve this by promoting improved and standardized data collection methods, storage, and analysis that provide the information needed to answer questions relevant to conservation. In her current post, Annabelle will continue to do part-time independent research to understand the effects of global changes on Aldabra’s vegetation.

  • Cheyenne Chang-Yunn
    Project Officer

    Cheyenne Chang-Yunn re-joined SIF as a Project Officer after completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Technology (Hons) from Quest International University, Malaysia. She previously worked with SIF as a Vallée de Mai Field Research Assistant in 2017, participating in the black parrot and coco de mer monitoring programmes while also contributing to the control and eradication of several invasive alien species. Before pursuing her degree, she also worked on the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles’ turtle monitoring and terrapin rehabilitation projects. Her passion for the environment has grown more towards implementing and enhancing effective systems for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, with climate change adaptation and renewable energy being key focuses. Having several experiences in environmental management she is keen on turning her knowledge into action as one of SIF’s Project Officers.

  • Corianna Julie
    Science Officer

    Corianna Julie joined SIF as the Science Officer in 2020 and has been loving the new experience. Corianna completed a Master’s degree in Botany at the Nelson Mandela University in 2020, with a focus on mangrove ecology. Prior to this, Corianna completed a BSC Environmental Science degree, double majoring in botany and geography, and a BSc Honours degree in Marine Botany from the same university. Currently, Corianna plays a significant role in supporting, developing and strengthening the Vallée de Mai’s research programme, as well as providing administrative, logistic and general support for the implementation of SIF’s general research and conservation programme. She has thus far enjoyed this position as she has learned so much, and finds there is never a dull and idle day in the life of an SIF team member. Corianna has a passion for inclusive science that creates a space for everyone to actively learn and play a role in sustainability, and environmental management. She believes that science needs to be communicated effectively to the public to bring more success. Corianna has expressed that she is looking forward to contributing to the advancement of research at both sites in the near future and is excited for what is yet to come!

  • Aruna Sunassee
    Head of Communications and Outreach

    Aruna joined the SIF Head Office team in May 2022, taking on the challenging role of Communications, Education and Outreach Coordinator. She has a Masters in Project Management and a B.A. in Political Science. Her previous experience in International Cooperation, as well as workshop and conference development, makes her a strong asset to the Communications Team.

  • Mara Rivolta
    Communications Officer

    Mara joined the team in August 2021 as the Communications Officer, and has since taken on multiple communication and outreach activities. She has a BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham, and a background in content marketing and social media management. With a keen interest in education, working with SIF allows her to be involved in the multiple engaging outreach activities, and help in educating the public on the organization’s conservation work and the importance preserving of our natural heritage. Since joining, she has been able to work on different projects and initiatives, and is thoroughly enjoying learning about conservation and research, a field that she had previously not been acquainted with.

  • Veronique Banane
    Senior Project Officer

    Veronique joined the Head Office team in October 2019 as Project Officer, having graduated with a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Since working with SIF, she has had extensive experience both on-the-ground, consisting of onsite helping with the control of yellow crazy ants in the Vallée de Mai, as well as assisting and leading project matters, such as securing grants and their associated procedures that allow for crucial research work and continued protection of both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Veronique also plays a vital role in biosecurity measures and procedures required to protect Aldabra from the globally pressing threat of Invasive Alien Species.

    She continues to strive for excellence, and looks forward to working on exciting projects in the future to ensure the protection of all sites.

Aldabra Atoll

  • Francis Salomon
    Aldabra Island Manager

    Francis started working for SIF as Aldabra Island Manager in April 2022. His role involves overseeing all daily operations, staff management, enforcing the island’s rules and regulations, supporting the research team, and keeping in close contact with Head Office staff on Mahé to ensure the smooth and safe running of the Aldabra site. Francis has a strong background of conservation experience, starting as a Conservation Ranger with ICS, and working his way up to Island Manager on Aride Island. From his many years of working on remote islands, Francis has developed a deep passion for Seychelles wildlife and enjoys using his skills as a mechanic and boatman to explore and improve life for all island inhabitants, from people to tortoises.

  • Aurelie Hector
    Tourism Officer

    Graduating with a BSc in Biology from the University of Mauritius, Aurelie has always been fascinated by nature and loves to share her passion and experience with others. Aurelie started her conservation career with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, where she was the Round Island senior warden for three years and a conservation biologist on Ile Aux Aigrettes for one year. Captivated by the beauty of Seychelles, she continued her conservation journey as the Vallée de Mai Science Coordinator for two years with SIF and discovered the amazing wildlife of Praslin. She then joined the Island Conservation Society where she got the chance to explore more of the Seychelles’ island such as Silhouette, Aride, Farquhar, Astove and Cosmoledo, where she became smitten by the charm of the Seychelles outer islands.

    With her newfound love for the outer islands of Seychelles, Aurelie set up her new adventure once again with SIF as the Aldabra Tourism Officer and she hopes to share her knowledge with visitors from all around the world. With the Aldabra annual Eco-School Trip in mind, she wishes to inspire the next generation of conservation biologists among the students visiting the atoll this year. 

  • Irma Dubois
    Assistant Aldabra Science Coordinator

    Irma graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science from the University of Seychelles specialising in tropical biodiversity and conservation. Her interest in conservation started at a young age as she became fascinated and inquisitive by her surrounding environment. Previous to University she volunteered with different environmental organisations around Seychelles such as MCSS, GVI and SaveOurSeas Foundation. Soon after graduation she joined SIF whereby, she dedicated 3 years of her early conservation career as a Field Research Officer at the Vallée de Mai. During her time there, Irma was involved with different projects such as the coco de mer regeneration scheme and black parrot project. From 2020-22, she also coordinated the yellow crazy ants baiting for three different sessions at the Vallée de Mai. To broaden her horizon, Irma joined the Island Conservation Society (ICS) on Aride special nature reserve and later explored other islands like Desroches, Desnoeuf, Marie-louise and Silhouette.

    Irma has recently re-joined SIF as the Assistant Aldabra Science Coordinator and hopes to combine and apply all of her skills and knowledge gained throughout the years whilst exploring the world of Aldabra.

  • Martin Cagnato
    RaCE Team Leader

    After ten years of working in conservation, Martin joined SIF in March 2024 as the RaCE Team Leader. Specializing in issues related to invasive mammals introduced to tropical islands, he is now leveraging his expertise to support the feasibility study for the eradication of feral cat and rat populations on Aldabra Island.

    Martin's love for the environment began at an early age, influenced by his parents, who were both passionate about nature and animals. In 2014, Martin graduated from the University of Bordeaux with an MSc in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Monitoring. When not engaged in his professional missions, he devotes his time to photography, drawing, sports, and spending time with family and friends.

    Martin's aim is to continue his commitment to the conservation of the world's biodiversity, to pass it on to future generations, and to showcase its value through photography.

  • Joey Latsha
    Aldabra Science Coordinator

    Joey joined us in March 2023 as the Aldabra Science Coordinator. He received his Bachelor’s in Natural Resource Conservation, and a minor in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana,  USA, and comes to SIF joins our team along with 10 years of experience working in habitat restoration and monitoring in the remote Pacific.

    Joey’s love of the natural world started with gardening with his grandparents and exploring the Appalachian Mountains of Central Pennsylvania. He has always had an appreciation for wildlife and plants that were often overlooked and understudied. At university he worked in insect physiology, and plant genetics, until moving to the Pacific to further his career in conservation. While in the Pacific, he worked and partnered with the National Park Service, Children’s Maritime Foundation,  Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service in Hawaii, California, and Micronesia on forest inventory and monitoring, outdoor education, endangered plant recovery, restoration biology, and reforestation projects. While on Aldabra, Joey plans to focus on filling data gaps in monitoring, and developing new protocols for monitoring projects that will tie into future eradications.