Lessons from the land of the dodo

Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean. These small remote islands have a short history of human occupation illustrating how overexploitation and alien species introduction can rapidly turn a centre of biodiversity to a centre of extinction. The famed loss of the Dodo, our emblem, is there to remind us of the need for conservation action. Our long-term involvement in the region exemplifies how ecosystems can be rebuilt and species brought back from the edge.

Long-term intensive conservation management and training


Durrell has applied its core approach to conservation action in the Mascarenes with intensive ongoing operations in the field, supported by ex-situ activities at the Wildlife Park, and training for the next generation of conservation leaders in the region through Durrell’s Conservation Academy and postgraduate internship course within Mauritius. This approach and long-term partnership with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation to help establish protected areas, reintroduce threatened birds and reptiles, eradicate and control invasive predators, restore island ecosystems and raise awareness for species protection have been the backbone of conservation actions that have prevented extinction events over the past three decades.

  • Five of Mauritius' most threatened reptile species have been bred in captivity at the Wildlife Park over the past 30 years.

  • More than 150 MSc and PhD research projects have been conducted to support conservation actions

  • Invasive predators and herbivores have been removed from seven offshore islands around Mauritius permitting restoration processes to start.

  • In a review on the impact of conservation on the status of the World's vertebrates over the past 25 years, 6 of the 36 bird species whose status improved in the IUCN red listings were from the Mascarenes

  • Since 2007, 1,936 threatened reptiles have been translocated to establish nine new populations of six threatened species.


Featured species

Prof. Carl Jones MBE

Prof. Carl Jones MBE is an International Conservation Fellow at Durrell as well as Scientific Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. He is also an Honorary Reader in Ecology and Conservation Biology at the University of East Anglia. Carl began working in Mauritius and Rodrigues in 1979 and his dedication has led to the restoration of many species and habitats. Carl leads Durrell’s engagement in the Mascarenes and also supports various aspects of the Trust’s conservation breeding in Jersey.

Dr. Nik Cole

Dr. Nik Cole leads Durrell’s reptile restoration work in Mauritius and while being based in Mauritius with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, he also supports many of their projects. Nik has a PhD from the University of Bristol and previously worked as a scientific advisor for natural history film companies and has supported the restoration of the Antiguan racer snake and the Chagos Ecological Restoration Project. Nik currently leads a joint project with the Mauritius National Parks and Conservation Service to continue the restoration of native reptiles.

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