Mauritius Nature and Wildlife
There are 700 species of indigenous plants including over 60 different orchid species. Interestingly, Mauritius is the second largest supplier of plants and cut flowers outside of the Netherlands. A great deal of Mauritius’ natural flora is endangered because of the destruction of habitats as well as the introduction of plants and animals that compete and destroy fruits and seedlings.
Black River Gorges National Park spreads over 16,680 acres and is home to Mauritius’ highly endangered plant and animal species. Within the park are 311 species of native and endemic flowering plants and it protects the island’s remaining rainforest. It hosts humid upland forests, drier lowland forests and heathland. Nine species of birds that can only be found in Mauritius call the Black River Gorges National Park their home.
Île aux Aigrettes is a 26-hectare island and nature reserve located about 800 m off the southeast coast of Mauritius. It was named a nature reserve in 1965 with the goal of saving the last remnants of Mauritius’s coastal forest. It hosts a unique population of endemic flora and fauna species. By 1985 the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation put a watchman on Île aux Aigrettes and a major restoration project was undertaken.
Round Island is an offshore islet 22.5 km off the northeast coast of Mauritius. Classified as a nature reserve in 1957, Round Island supports the last remains of a lowland palm-rich community that was once prominent in Mauritius. It hosts several rare palm species and is famous for its reptile community, housing between 7-8 endemic reptile species. Due to the isolation of Round Island, it has kept many natural elements and is free of introduced mammals.
Another place of interest amongst nature lovers is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden. This garden spreads across 60 acres and hosts 500 different species of plants, 80 of which are palms. The garden is famous amongst naturalists because of its large lilies and the Talipot Palms that reside there. These palms are said to flower every 60 years and then they die.
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) was formed in 1984 to raise and distribute funds for the conservation, protection and husbandry of endangered species. A non-governmental agency, the foundation works closely with the National Parks and Conservation Service to promote conservation practices throughout the country. By 1995 the foundation focussed less on raising funds and more on developing hands-on projects. The MWF has been successful in bringing many species back from near extinction thanks to captive breeding programmes as well as several restoration efforts. In total, MWF operates six field stations, two endemic plant nurseries, the Captive Breeding Center, the Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary and a visitor’s information centre on Île aux Aigrettes.
The remoteness of Mauritius due to its volcanic origin and its location in the Indian Ocean meant that there were limited opportunities for the natural colonization of animals. As such, there are only a few endemic species including birds and reptiles. There are no native mammals except for bats and there are no amphibians in Mauritius.
The Dodo bird was indigenous to Mauritius, however, this bird became extinct within eighty years of its discovery. Despite being extinct for over three hundred years, the Dodo still fascinates people. The Dodo lost the ability to fly because the food on the island was abundant and Mauritius’ isolation meant that there were no predators or competitors. The Dodo is important because it was the first time humans realized that they could introduce the extinction of a species.
Mauritius Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Mauritius.
Learn about the history and culture of Mauritius, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Mauritius's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Mauritius for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Mauritius vacations today!
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