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Plants and Animals

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Rodrigues

Plants and Animals

Plants

The Maskarenes are home to about 700 species of plants and flowers found nowhere else in the world. More than 300 of them are found only on Mauritius. However, the destruction of ecosystems and habitats has made several species extremely rare. Some species are now very rare in the wild! Only 1% of all trees on Mauritius are still of the hardwood species which used to be common on Mauritius. They can only be found in the Black River Gorges National Park. Famous is the Mauritian ebony, the darkest wood in the world. Other impressive trees are the Indian banyan and the beautiful red flower-bearing flamboyant. Mauritius has largely been covered with primeval forest, which has however largely disappeared due to deforestation.

There are 89 species of orchids on Mauritius. Nine of these are found only on Mauritius. The anthurium is a common flower and is even exported.

Seven species of palms are found only on Mauritius, two of which have only one remaining specimen in the wild. The national flower of Mauritius is the "Boucle d'Oreille", which can only be found in the wild on private land. The beaches of Mauritius are not so much surrounded by palms as by casuarina trees. Eucalyptus trees have been planted in place of the disappearing native forest.

In the Black River Gorges National Park, efforts are being made to preserve some of the natural vegetation of Mauritius.

Animals

The Mauritian mammal world is very limited. Apart from the inevitable goats, cats and dogs, the mongoose and the tenrec are fairly common. The Dutch imported the Java deer. Furthermore, there are wild pigs and macaques, a type of monkey. There are no dangerous animals on Mauritius.

The only mammal indigenous to Mauritius is the black bat, a suborder of the fruit bat family. The indigenous bird species are also in a sorry state. There are only eight endemic species left, including some of the world's rarest. In 1974, for example, there were only 24 pink pigeons left. Thanks to a sophisticated breeding programme and protection from natural enemies, this bird is now regularly seen in the wild again. Mauritius's only bird of prey, the Mauritian kestrel, was even worse. In 1973, due to the introduction of pesticides and deforestation, there were only four left and at that time it was the rarest bird in the world. At the moment, the number of kestrels is estimated to be 500 again thanks to an international breeding programme.

Another project concerned the echo parakeet, of which there are now about 70 flying around again. Still threatened birds are the cuckoo-clawbird, the Mauritian song-thrush and especially the Mauritian fody. The Round Island petrel is of great interest to birdwatchers as it is otherwise only found in Trinidad, on the other side of the world! Round Island is one of the uninhabited islands belonging to Mauritius. A newly discovered species is the Maskarean shearwater, which otherwise breeds only in the Comoros Islands. The most famous bird of Mauritius is the dodo, a grotesque flightless bird which was exterminated soon after the Dutch arrived on Mauritius. The same fate was suffered by the giant tortoises.

Whales, dolphins and hawksbill turtles live off the coast of Mauritius. Between the coral lives the dangerous-looking, but harmless giant moray eel. Fishermen from all over the world hunt the blue pollock every year. The animal world in the waters and lagoons around Mauritius is seriously threatened by tourist motorboats, fishermen, divers and environmental pollution.

Of particular note are Round Island's eight reptile species, three of which are threatened with extinction: the Telfair's lizard, the Round Island gecko and the scaly boa.


Sources

Ellis, R. / Mauritius, Rodrigues & RĂ©union
Bradt

Pahlen, C. von der / Mauritius
Deltas

Singh, S. / Mauritius, RĂ©union & Seychelles
Lonely Planet

Te gast in Mauritius
Informatie Verre reizen

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated January 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info