The Republic of Seychelles comprises 155 islands spanning an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 km east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Seychelles, with an estimated population of 86,525 people, has the smallest population of any African state.
The climate is equable although quite humid. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C and rainfall averages 2.900 mm annually in Victoria and is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24 °C (75 °F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.
Environmental legislation is very strict, and every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. The Seychelles is a world leader in sustainable tourism which helps to preserve an intact and stable natural environment. Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment.
Like many fragile island ecosystems, the Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity during early human history, including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, and the extinction of several animal species. However, extinctions were far fewer than on other islands partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.