Mauritius harbours approximately 900 species of plants of which 311 have been identified as being endemic. Out of the 311 species, 113 are classified as endangered. 50 of the 113 species are threatened which means that they are represented by less than 10 in the wild.
Alien species (flora and fauna)
Several alien species are reported to have been introduced in Mauritius and they are a direct threat to the endemic plants. Some of the important ones are:
(a) Chinese guava Psidium cattleianum, perhaps the worst weed in the Mauritian upland forest introduced in around 1750. Its fruits are eaten by deer, pigs and monkeys which proved to be very effective dispersal agents.
(b) Privet Ligustrum robustum var. Walkeri. Privet has spread rapidly in the moist upland and areas of Mauritius.
(c) Travelers palm Ravenala madagascariensis - Large areas of travelers palm can be found by river banks and on hill sides in humid areas.
(d) Vieillefille Lantana camara - This species is found in the drier forested areas.
A large variety of wild fauna species was introduced by the settlers including the macaque monkey, wild pig, brown rat, hedgehog, hare, wild rabbit, Java deer, mongoose and Indian wolf snake. Some of these alien species particularly the monkeys have caused damage to the native flora and fauna.
Conventions related to biodiversity
(a) Convention of biological diversity: Mauritius was the first country in the world to have ratified this convention on the 1st of September, 1992.
(b) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: Mauritius ratified this convention on 28th April, 1975.
(c) Convention on wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitat also known as Ramsar convention on wetlands: Mauritius ratified the convention on 30th September, 2001.
The Black River Gorges National Park
This is the first National Park of Mauritius. It extends over an area of 6,754 hectares which represents about 3.5% of the island’s area and is situated in the South West of the island. It harbours more than 300 species of flowering plants and 9 species of endemic birds.
The main entrances to the park are:
• From Curepipe/Vacoas or Grand Bassin through Pétrin,
• From Black River Royal Road (Trois Bras) through Visitor’s Centre in the Gorges,
• From CheminGrenier via Bassin Blanc through Les Mares,
• From Case Noyale through Chamarel.
National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS), Réduit
Telephone No.: +(230) 464 4053 , 464 4016 and 464 2993
Telephone No.: +(230) 507 0128
Fax No.: +(230) 465 1184
Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary:
The Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary was proclaimed as a reserve on the 27th of August, 1999 under the "Wildlife and National Parks Act" of 1993.
It has also been proclaimed a wetland site of international importance by Ramsar Bureau. Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary (RTRBS) is the largest estuarine delta in Mauritius covering about 26 hectares and is an important ground and refuge for migratory birds in Mauritius. Every year several hundreds of birds migrate from the Northern Hemisphere as far as Siberia to escape the rigorous winter months prevailing in the North to come to take refuge in this sanctuary.