Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Preservation
The small 109 square km  island of Rodrigues was once covered by a rich and luxuriant forest filled with plants and animals found nowhere else in the world .The first colonist was the French Huguenot Francois Leguat who, together with seven colleagues, landed on the island in 169l.
Leguat called the island paradise and gave a wonderful description of its wildlife in which he talked about the famous flightless "Solitaire", Pigeons, Parrots, Bats, giant tortoises and turtles.
In less than three centuries of human habitation all the original plant communities, and at least eight endemic plant species, have become extinct. Today only forty five endemic species survive. The majority of these are critically threatened, seven of these with less than ten individuals in the wild. Of these are plants, like the famous "Cafe Marron: Ramosmania heterophylla" named in honour of the first Mauritian Governor General of Mauritian birth, Sir Rahman Osman.
Of the endemic fauna only two species of birds are left, the Rodrigues Fody and the Rodrigues Warbler and the Fruit Bat. The fody was very rare in the late 1960's when the population is believed to have declined to only five or six pairs. The warbler was also thought to be close to extinction. Fortunately due to the better protection of the forest areas, an upward trend took place in the 1989 with the fody now numbering in excess of 400 birds and the warbler with about 60 individuals. The fruit bat now numbers nearly 2000.
The plant extinction record in Rodrigues is high but all has not disappeared.T he Government of Mauritius has made an excellent start to conserve the last remnants of native vegetation. The single most important site in Grande Montagne reserve; 25,5 Ha of land fenced in 1986 by the European Development Fund (FED). Other critical areas are now fenced include Cascades: Mourouk, St Louis and Pigeon. Much of the plant work on Rodrigues was directed by Wendy Strahm (World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF) in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius and the Rodrigues Ministry and the Mauritian Wildlife Appeal Fund (MWAF).
For almost 10 years now  MWAF, a registered charity and Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), has been and is still actively involved in the conservation work in Rodrigues. Much has been done by its staff on the biology and ecology of the two birds and the bat and on the plant conservation projects. It is also involved in the restoration work on the two small islands Coco and Sable where tens of thousands of sea birds nest.
MWAF and its partners recently negociated with the World Bank for funding for the plant restoration work on Rodrigues, a five year project starting in late 1995.
The objectives of the MWAF can only be achieved with the necessary and generous financial support of the Mauritian public and Business community