- LIFE 320 Ecology
- NR 150 Oceanography (Section 2)
Start the day with a drive to the South of Mauritius, a part of the island that has kept a feeling of “old Mauritius.” The first stop is at Pointe Jerome where you will discover a unique islet called Ile aux Aigrettes, a nature conservation site run by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The island shelters the last remnants of the coastal forest. A guided tour will show off the hard work involved in returning this islet to its natural state and in the conservation of all the endangered species and plants. Visit the indigenous plants nursery, and try to spot the giant tortoise, rare Pink Pigeon, the Mauritius Kestrel, and the endangered skinks.
Next, head to the Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes to discover an amazing balance of flora and fauna. Opened in 1985, the park occupies the valley of a former vanilla growing area, and functions as a tropical rain forest with exotic palms, freshwater streams and local flora and fauna. The park is the brainchild of Owen Griffiths, an Australian zoologist, and his Mauritian wife who discovered that the area was suitable for the farming of Nile crocodiles. The first crocodiles, one male and four females, were imported from Madagascar and their offspring placed in heated indoor nurseries for one year before they were released into ponds. The crocodiles are kept in secure enclosures, according to age, until they reach maturity. The site is home to a collection of giant tortoise, monkey, deer, tenrec, rabbits, bats, wild pigs, colorful butterflies, and a giant Telfair Skink which is indigenous to Round Island.
“Got a great opportunity to see so much of Mauritius! I saw different environments and amazing animals I can’t see anywhere else, it was amazing!” – Charlotte R. Spring 2016 Student Voyager
“Be prepared to get very close to some giant tortoises!” – Lloyd A. Spring 2016 Student Voyager
Minimum participant age is 4 years old.
Participants should wear lightweight clothing and comfortable closed-toed shoes; and bring along sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, mosquito repellent, and a waterproof camera if desired.