To conserve and manage
the indigenous flora and fauna of Mauritius and its territories.
To raise and supply
funds necessary for the conservation projects undertaken by the MWF
and its associate organizations.
To co-ordinate and
administer these projects.
To inform, educate and involve the Mauritian people in this vital work.
Man, as is often the case, caused the irreversible loss
of native plants and animals by interfering with the fragile equilibrium
Following a report written by Sir Peter Scott, international
organisations started getting involved in conservation projects in Mauritius,
in 1973. The first major project was that of the Peregrine Fund, USA,
for the conservation of the Mauritius Kestrel. They used a private bird
collection in Mauritius to set up a captive breeding project. At that
time, only 4 kestrels were known to exist.
In 1715, the French settled in Mauritius. In 1756, the
Governor allowed the unlimited felling of trees. The destruction of the
forests had started, to make way for agriculture, particularly the cultivation
of sugar cane. The last significant felling took place in the early 1970s,
for the creation of exotic forests. Nowadays, indigenous forests barely
make up 3% of the island, with only 1% in good condition.
Predatory rats, cats and monkeys compounded the loss of
habitat and accelerated the tragic loss in our wildlife. Fortunately,
much of the latter remains though most species are threatened with extinction.
In 1988, a study was made on the importance of forested
areas in Africa. It ranked the forest in the south-west of Mauritius,
a National Park since 1994, as the highest on the list of conservation
priorities in Africa. With a unique, largely endangered flora and fauna,
Mauritius is known, internationally, as an area of great importance for
In 1976, the naturalist and conservationist of international fame, Gerald Durell, visited Mauritius and Rodrigues. He initiated the long involvement of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in conservation projects in Mauritius. The JWPT got to work on the Pink Pigeon, the Mauritius Echo Parakeet, the Rodrigues Fruit Bat and on Round Island, an islet off the coast of Mauritius. The Government of Mauritius also became involved in conservation in 1976.
The Pink Pigeon [World's rarest pigeon.]
The Echo Parakeet [World's rarest parrot.]
Rodrigues has three endangered species of vertebrates:
the Fruit Bat, the Fody and the Warbler. Once called a paradise, this
island covering 109 sq. Kms, situated at 600 kms to the east of Mauritius,
has become one of the most degraded islands in the world. In less than
three centuries, Man has wiped out all the original plant groups. Today,
out of 45 surviving endemic plant species, the majority are critically
threatened and seven species are down to less than 10 specimens in the
wild. Only two species of birds remain of the endemic fauna: the Rodrigues
Fody and the Rodrigues Warbler, and the Fruit Bat. All three were also
in great danger till recently.
For almost 10 years, the MWF has been actively involved
in conservation work in Rodrigues. Its staff has worked hard on the biology
and ecology of the two birds mentioned above and on that of the Fruit
Bat. The result has been a significant increase in population. The MWF
is also deeply concerned with habitat and vegetation restoration on mainland
Rodrigues and on two islets, Coco and Sable, where tens of thousands of
sea birds nest.
Once the land of the Dodo, Mauritius is regarded today
as an international centre for habitat restoration and the preservation
of birds and reptiles. As a result of the work undertaken by the MWF and
its partners, Mauritius is at the forefront in the conservation of endangered
species and is looked upon as a live laboratory which has set new standards
for conservation round the world. The work is pains-taking and demanding.
The MWF relies upon a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, many from
abroad, whose hard work and commitment enable this vital project to continue.
The MWF is a registered charity organization and depends
as such upon the kind donations of those who care about the wildlife in
Mauritius. If you would like to help the Fund and to contribute towards
its projects in the long term survival of our unique heritage, please
consider making a donation.
For further information please write to Mauritius Wildlife, Grannum Road, Vacoas, Mauritius.