Fauna & Flora

Over the years, human presence and agricultural activity contributed to significant deforestation. However, an awareness of the value of the endemic and exotic heritage of the island has emerged in the recent past. Wide-scale conservation and reforestation work intensified with considerable human involvement as well as a judicious and ambitious financing policy. The initial results are promising.

The island has a nursery of indigenous species of international standard and works with prestigious organisations such as Kew Gardens, in England. Members and staff of NGOs that are passionate about the conservation and restoration of original habitats on the island have undertaken some remarkable work and fully devote themselves to promote the richness of the local animal and floral life.

Once endangered, the bois de fer (Sideroxylon bontoniamum), the bois d’olive (Elaeodendron orientale), the bois carotte (Pittosporum senacia), the bois chauve-souris (Doricera trilocularis), ebony trees (Diospyros egrettarum), the bois puant (Foetidia mauritiana) and many other species are now cautiously looked after. Thanks to conservation efforts, the famous café marron (Ramosmania heterophylla), which was thought to be nearly extinct, was saved in extremis and a number of specimens are now jealously protected.

The situation regarding the fauna remains a source of concern. Memories are still vivid of the organised massacre of land tortoises and of the Solitaire; the emblematic bird of the island in the 18th century. Some shells and bones have recently been unearthed.

Results in certain areas are encouraging: the chauve-souris dorée (golden bat) is now out of danger and has been reinstated in a natural habitat, namely at Cascade Pigeon, but a certain amount of caution is still required. Programmes are actually being run to save the yellow fody (Foudia flavicans), one of the rare species of existing endemic and indigenous fauna.”

Rodrigues’ Culture

There are a few decades ago the people of Rodrigues found their entertainment in traditional music, the sound of sega drum and accordion in small balls on Saturday evenings. Cultural awakening which occurred at the end of the 1970s allowed the construction and consolidation of the cultural identity of Rodrigues through the development of these various elements, which form the base of the culture of every nation: food, music, crafts...

It should be noted the great influence of the Catholic religion in everyday and cultural life of the population. Religion, respect for tradition and family are the pillars of Rodrigues life. Today, it can be seen that the local music and traditional dances are quite used during shows in hotels and other cultural events. It is the same for the traditional dishes; and crafts which are found everywhere in the market. These dishes which were despised have now become a luxury in major tourist and cultural events. The Rodrigues' music is present on the stage of international cultural events. Rodrigues’ culture is an asset that must not only be developed and exploited, but which above all also needs to be preserve as it is the essence of the Rodriguan cultural identity.

Rodrigues' culture

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At the heart of the Indian Ocean, at latitude 19°43’ S and longitude 63°25’ E, Rodrigues Island stretches over a surface area of 108 km2. Some 650 km to the north-east of Mauritius, it is the part of Africa that is closest to Australia. Born from volcanic activity between 1.3 and 1.5 million years ago, the island – 18 km long, 8 km wide – is the smallest of the Mascarene archipelago. Rodrigues is a mountainous island with a succession of valleys plunging to the 300 km2 lagoon, bringing an exhilarating feeling of weightlessness whilst meandering through steep escarpments and terraced fields towards its 80-km coastline. One of the most characteristic features of this enthralling though accessible island is its relief. The efforts of the most adventurous culminate in the joys of basking in one of the numerous deserted inlets, all the while gazing at white-tailed tropicbirds gliding through the air to and from their nests in surrounding cliffs. The island enjoys a tropical climate with temperatures varying between 28 and 35°C during the Southern summer, which coincides with the cyclonic season (November to April) and between 18 and 27°C in winter.

 

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Rodrigues in Images