Mauritius is a “young” volcanic island partially surrounded by mountains ranging from 300 to 800 metres in altitude. The island’s relief rises from the coastal plains to the central plateau, which rises to 670 metres above sea level. The highest peak is in the southwest of the island, the Petite Rivière Noire Piton, with a height of 828 metres.
Several rivers and streams cross the surface of the island. With the destruction of the endemic forest, many animal species have disappeared. Innovative projects, with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, are trying to save some endemic species.
The kestrel had become one of the rarest birds in the world, its population being reduced to four species in the 1970s. It is the only bird of prey in Mauritius but the rarest falcon in the world. Over the past 23 years, an intensive programme of captive breeding and release into the wild has saved it from extinction.
The pink pigeon is the rarest in the world that was found all over the island. It is now restricted to the northern and southwestern forests. A captive breeding program began in the 1980s. Its wild population includes more than 250 birds, compared to about 20 in 1985. The pink pigeon is a species of bird with a pale pink body, brown wings and a broad, reddish-brown tail. These birds are known for their long-lasting pairs and can breed at any time of the year.
The Green Cateau is largely restricted to the Maccabean forests in the National Park due to a decline in its natural habitat. Given the small number of about twenty birds in the early 1990s, projects were launched to save one of the rarest parrots in the world and the only parrot endemic to Mauritius.
Over the past two years, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has worked hard to increase the population of two rare bird species on the island and prevent their extinction. The two species are the Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula eques) and the Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri) which were already endangered.