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MAURITIUS EXPLORE
» 30 May 2014
DISCOVER ILE AUX AIGRETTES

Ile aux Aigrettes is a small 27 hectare islet situated in the Mahebourg Bay, about 850 metres off the south-east coast of Mauritius. Unlike the mainland which is of volcanic
origin, Ile aux Aigrettes is made up of coralline limestone. It is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around most of Mauritius.

Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree logging and land clearance. The introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed the native fauna and flora. In 1965 the island was declared a nature reserve and intense conservation
efforts resulted in the restoration of the forest and reintroduction of rare species that had long since disappeared from the island.

Visitors can discover Ile aux Aigrettes by joining any of the available tour options. The standard eco-tour which lasts between one and a half and two hours provides a guided trail around the sites of interest on the islet. The tailor-made tour should normally be booked in advance to cater for any special interests that the visitors might have, such as photography or bird watching and the length of the tour depends on their requirements. Upper primary and secondary school pupils can follow an especially designed Learning with Nature educational programme.

The tour starts with a short boat trip from Pointe Jerome; the Old Sands Jetty situated about 500 metres south of le Preskil Hotel. This is followed by a one and a half to two hour walking trail, led by one of our trained eco-tour rangers, who will share their knowledge of the local area and the general history of the islet with visitors, introduce
them to its unique flora and fauna and explain restoration work being carried out by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

The last part of the tour leads visitors to some impressive life-size bronzes and paintings of a few extinct species of the Mascarene Islands in our museum. A small boutique offers interesting and attractive souvenirs for sale including T-shirts and caps, items embroidered with rare local bird and animal designs, children’s books and a whole range of wildlife-related products. The boat will then take you back to the mainland.

Please note that eating, smoking and alcoholic drinks are not allowed anywhere on the islet, neither is littering. Visitors are required to remain on the trail at all times, within sight of their ranger, and are requested not to touch animals or damage/remove plants.
To catch sight of rare birds it is important to keep noise to a minimum. Compliance with these basic requirements is crucial for a smooth visit.

BOOKING PROCEDURES

Advance bookings are recommended to avoid disappointment; by
phone on (230) 631 2396 or (230) 5258 8139 (mobile),
email at reservation@mauritian-wildlife.org, or in
person at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation Visitor Centre and Booking Office
situated at the departures point on the mainland at Pointe Jerome.

DEPARTURE TIMES

The departure times for the tours, leaving from the old Sands Jetty at Pointe Jerome are: Monday to Saturday – 09.00, 09.30, 10:00, 10:30, 13:30, 14:00 and 14:30 and on Sunday mornings only.

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is the only non-governmental organization in Mauritius to be exclusively concerned with the conservation of the endangered endemic
plants and animals of Mauritius. 
 
The restoration work started in the 1970s by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation in Mauritius and is one of the world's most successful conservation stories. Major successes
include rescuing the Mauritius Kestrel, Echo Parakeet and Pink Pigeon from the brink of extinction. Protocols for the rescue of native plant species have also been developed
and work in Rodrigues include flora and fauna restoration through the replanting of native forests. MWF has been actively involved with islet restoration in particular on
Ile aux Aigrettes and Round Island, both of which contain highly threatened biodiversity of global importance.

These conservation efforts will benefit future generations of Mauritians. MWF promotes local capacity building and provides local employment through its activities. MWF continues to flourish as a strong, vibrant and innovative organization

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