Protect and act! This is the stated goal of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation! Launching its awareness program for the users of the northern islets of Mauritius, it intends to sustain its eco-friendly initiatives, one year after its project which focused around the south-east islets.
How to protect our islets?
Protecting our natural resources against the lack of civic-mindedness of some… Certainly, but how? The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation aims at promoting informed and sustainable management of the islets which border the northern coastline, through education and awareness. Indeed, they constitute an important place for leisure, tourism, education and are, above all, a natural heritage where birds, reptiles and plants unique to our island or to the world are living. Illegal access to the islets is a relevant issue: in the north, Gunners Quoin and Round Island, and to the south, Île Marianne and Île Vacoas, for example, are forbidden to the public as they are the last refuges for endemic species in danger of extinction, and which no longer exist on the main island.
“It was a question of maintaining the momentum initiated in the south-east. The ‘let’s protect our islets’ initiative received an extraordinary welcome from stakeholders in this region, and it proved more than necessary to keep the program in place with new participants and refresher courses “, explains Martine Goder Project Manager.
Thus, through training workshops, field activities and monitoring around local biodiversity, the foundation shows that it is always at the forefront of protecting the natural heritage and biodiversity of Mauritius. And, involving users provides input for developing a communication strategy, procedures and best practices that work for all stakeholders. Educational waterproof booklets are available and can be used during boat trips. At the end of the program, participants become accredited ‘Eco-skippers’.
Two workshops have already been held in Grand Bay in September, bringing together 24 skippers and assistant skippers of the region. Other workshops, followed by educational visits to the islets, will follow to reach out to private boat owners, coastguards, fishermen and other recreational craft and catamaran skippers. The initiative will also include presentations in schools and with members of the public.
With the support of the NCSR Foundation (recently renamed the National Social Inclusion Foundation), in addition to funding from MCB, Mauritian Wildlife is ready to take up this challenge (the south-east project was financed mainly by the Indian Ocean Commission for the period ranging from May 2017 to December 2018). As a reminder, conservation projects for the islets endemic flora and fauna – in particular through reforestation and rehabilitation programs for endemic reptiles – are being done in collaboration with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the National Parks and Conservation Service, and the Forestry Service.
Two skippers workshops are planned in Mahebourg in October, as well as one in Grand Bay and one in Trou d’Eau Douce in November.
For more information:
Tel : (+230) 697 60 97