Seychelles: Takamaka Tree Wilt Disease Resurges On Seychelles’ Islands of Curieuse and La Digue

The Seychelles Parks and Garden Authority (SPGA) has begun to tackle the Takamaka tree wilt disease resurgence on the islands of Curieuse and La Digue, said an environment official.

The disease is caused by a kind of bark beetle carrying spores of a fungus and infecting the Takamaka tree when it bores into the bark and, as a result, the leaves fall off and the plant eventually dies, if not treated.

An assessment was conducted on Curieuse in March 2023 to ascertain the gravity of the infection.

“We estimated that 25-30 Takamaka trees have been infected on the coastal plateau from Baie Laraie – near the Ranger’s Headquarters – to Anse Josee near the Doctor’s House,” James Mougal, the forestry and national parks general manager told SNA.

He said that “the infestation rate is between 5 to 100 percent. One hundred percent means that the tree is dead. According to our information, it cost around SCR 2,000 [$150] to treat one infected Takamaka tree. This includes the cost of the fungicide, labour and transportation costs. Initially, we were using ‘Storite’ and ‘Tilt’ fungicides to treat the Takamaka disease.”

Curieuse is a small granitic island close to the second-most populated island of Praslin. The island is a national park managed by Seychelles National Parks Authority and apart from Praslin, it is the second place where the unique endemic coco de mer palm grows in its natural state. The island is also home to hundreds of endemic giant Aldabra tortoises, which were introduced from the Aldabra Atoll between 1978 and 1982.