L'ile aux aigrettes
Ile aux Aigrettes is a 26-hectares coral island situated within the lagoon of Mahébourg bay that was declared a nature reserve in 1965. It welcomes authentic nature lovers, solely upon reservation, to a perfect show-case of what the costal ecosystem was like four centuries back before man landed.
Ile aux Aigrettes was restored thanks to the admirable and relentless efforts of a local NGO - The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), over the past half century. Passionately dedicated to the conservation of the island’s original fauna and flora, they rid the island of invasive exotic species to allow the precious remains of Mauritius’ original fauna and flora to recover – turning Ile aux Aigrettes into the beautiful ecological site it is today.
The « Dodo Trail» is a walk that takes the visitor close to rare trees such as the ebony, bois bœuf and bois clou that once grew in abundance across the mainland and where the Mauritius Pink Pigeon - saved in extremis from extinction, loves to perch; the Telfair’s skink likes to hide and the local fruit bats hang head down from the branches above the lazy giant tortoises. Other interactive tracks and paths point out to the positive results of the work undertaken to reintroduce the Gunther gecko, the Olive White-Eye bird and the endemic Mauritian Fody, a cute small songbird.
The island also hosts a nursery where rare plants, including orchids, are propagated, among which the earring tree (Trochetia boutoniana) specific to Mauritius and its national flower; the exceptionally rare Yellowwood (Ochrosia borbonica) of which only four specimens are left in their natural habitat, including Ile aux Aigrettes’ unique one.