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‘Digital’ endangered birds on sale in the Seychelles

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A Seychelles Magpie Robin was pictured on Cousin Island, a nature reserve island managed by Nature Seychelles, an environmental NGO, in Seychelles. AFP

‘Digital’ endangered birds on sale in the Seychelles

Want to buy your very own “digital bird”?

In what it has been hailed as a world first, a conservation group in the Seychelles has launched a project to sell digital versions – or NFTs – of the island nation’s endangered magpie robin.

Nature Seychelles said the aim was to raise money for conservation, as traditional sources of funding have dried up during the coronavirus pandemic.

The digital twins of the black and white birds can be snapped up for as little as $10 or as much as $10,000 – and Nature Seychelles CEO Nirmal Shah said they had already raised $2,500 on the first day of the sale Monday.

NFTs – “Non-Fungible Tokens” – are digital objects such as drawings, animations, pieces of music, photos or videos, whose authenticity is confirmed by blockchain technology, preventing forgeries or manipulation.

The Indian Ocean archipelago is home to about 400 magpie robins, with 59 found on the Cousin Island Special Reserve.

Nature Seychelles initially issued a limited edition of 59 collectibles to represent the living birds on Cousin Island.

“You can contribute whatever you want, and the money will go directly to us to help manage this species,” said Shah.

“This is just the beginning of experiments to find new income streams for conservation.”

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