ILE AUX AIGRETTES
Five minutes away from Mahébourg, Ile aux Aigrettes, classified as a nature reserve in 1965, shelters the last remnants of the coastal forest.
Explore the unique and beautiful islet Ile aux Aigrettes - located in the turquoise blue lagoon of Pointe d’Esny in the south east of Mauritius. Go on Expedition Tours full day South East Excursion to discover and enjoy historical places and the island rare flora and fauna.
History & Important Information about Ile aux Aigrettes
The 25 hectare island, which the Dutch called Fishermen’s Island (Visschers Eyland), takes its name from the egret, a white long-legged fisher bird which has unfortunately disappeared today.
Because of its geographic position near Vieux Grand Port, where the first inhabitants of Mauritius landed, l’Ile aux Aigrettes had to endure three successive waves of deforestation.
Only in 1985 did the Mauritian Wildlife foundation launch a rehabilitation and management project to preserve the island’s fauna and flora. The aim of the project is to rid the island of exotic plants and provide space for the propagation and reintroduction of Mauritian species. The eradication of the muskrat, which eats certain plants and eggs of young reptiles as well as the reintroduction of endemic birds and reptiles are also on the cards.
Ile aux Aigrettes possesses an invaluable wealth in plants, most of which are unique in the world. It hosts eighteen species of plants endangered or very rare plants such as ebony, bois de boeuf, bois de chandelle or bois de rat, and bois de fer. A nursery has been set up where thirty thousand plants are grown with the view to restore the island’s flora and save rare plants.
Ile aux Aigrettes is also a sanctuary for birds in danger of extinction. In 1994m sine thirty Pink Pigeons were released on the island and since then the population has increased. The island has also been used as quarantine station for kestrels. Around thirty of them have been released. Ornate Day Geckos and Aldabra tortoises are also to be found on the island.
Nevertheless, it will take more than 20 years to give back the island its former luster and before achieving the objective of making it a model centre in this part of the world for the conservation of rare and endangered species.