Image courtesy : Copyright © Gary Martin, 1996 - 2009

Image courtesy : Copyright © Gary Martin, 1996 - 2009

I was born on the small island of Mauritius.

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Now, whenever I say that to people, they reply : ‘ Oh Where is Mauritius ?’, and for the nth time I unreel the quickest recognition of Mauritius. By quoting ‘ As dead as the Dodo’.  Remember ?. .. It is the first animal known to have been extinct by the hands of man.

The island of Mauritius is renowned for having been the only known home of the dodo. The dodo is a lesson in extinction. First sighted around 1600 on Mauritius, the dodo was extinct less than eighty years later.

The list of endangered dinos_bird.php species continues to growing at an alrming rate today …

The tragedy of the dodo highlights the potential effects mankind can have upon the environment, and the ease with which humanity can disrupt the delicate balance of an ecosystem by eradicating whole species. As one of the earliest examples of modern ecovandalism, the impact of the Portuguese and Dutch sailors on Mauritius not only wiped out the famous dodo, but further disrupted nature in unexpected ways.

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Incidentally check this amusing account of the Dodo here Dodo_bird

Before I lose the thread, let me just remind myself that Mauritius is all about a lesson not well learnt.

Green Parakeet, endemic to the island.

Green Parakeet, endemic to the island.the magnificient Kestrel, an endangered species.

the Bulbul or Zozo Conde, a cousin of the Caribbean Ti Sucrier

the Bulbul or Zozo Conde, a cousin of the Caribbean Ti Sucrier

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That of how vulnerable our environment is and how we are depleting the world of its fauna and flora without blinking an eye. This story serves to highlight the dangerous implications of animal extinction, and why humanity must work to safeguard the environment and nature. The bio-diversity of our world must be protected, both for current and future generations. The dodo was such a unique species of bird, that some three centuries later, it is still remembered as a symbol of the harm mankind can bring to the environment. As the memory of the dodo and the legacy of ecovandalism lives on, we must not forget to take heed of such a warning – particularly as more and more species are brought to the point of extinction.

The buzz word nowdays is sustainability, protection of our natural environment. And yet, we breeze by the news with a total indifferent candour reading about the ice cap melting, the dwindling numbers of the white bears, the dead end fight the animals are facing to their extinction at the hands the mighty poachers pawns to the multi million business tycoons.

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Mauritius is one of the youngest islands born in the Indian Ocean and stuns jetsetters around the world by its pristine beauty and ideal setting in a sub tropical environment. It is neither too hot, nor too chilly, never too still or too windy, not too humid nor too dry, sum it all it has the perfect climate, air and sky quality and clarity to make it stand out to be recognised as being an exclusive destination. No wonder mark Twain wrote ” God saw Mauritius and create heaven after it’. One can only understands this pretentious statement when one lands on this tiny price of paradise. No words is superfluous enough to describe how magical the place is, and the people did a great job to make it a haven out of nothing but sweat, dedication and love for an equal world.

Despite having a low GDP, Mauritius is widely regarded as a developed country as the GDP is enough for all 1.3 million people. Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors.

A plan by ADB Networks calls for Mauritius to become the first nation to have coast-to-coast wireless internet access. The wireless hot spot currently covers about 60% of the island and is accessible by about 70% of its population.

Mauritius ranks first among all countries in FDI inflows to India, with cumulative inflows amounting to US$10.98 billion. The top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius between January 2000 and December 2005 were electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector (financial and non-financial).

Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic groups. The republic’s residents are the descendants of people from India (Indo-Mauritian), continental Africa (Mauritian Creole people usually known as ‘Creoles’), France (Franco-Mauritian) and China (Sino-Mauritian), among other places.

In Mauritius, people switch languages according to the occasion. Over the course of a day a typical Mauritian might use English to write a school essay, Creole Morisien to chat with friends and French to read a novel.[19]

The Indian Ocean country’s constitution makes no mention of an official language and its one million citizens speak either English, French, Hindi or Mauritian Creole — a French patois.

When it was discovered, the island of Mauritius was the home of a previously unknown species of bird, which the Portuguese named the dodo (simpleton), as they appeared to be not too bright. By 1681, all dodos had been killed by the settlers or by their domesticated animals. An alternate theory suggests that the imported wild boars that were set free destroyed the slow-breeding dodo population. The dodo is prominently featured as a supporter of the national coat-of-arms (see above).

The island has also given rise to a diversified literature, prominent in French, English and Creole. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is of Franco-mauritian origin and lives on the island for part of each year.

The tiny island nation certainly is struggling hard to makes its place in the sun, and its development has not been flightless like the Dodo.

The island is keen to preserve its endangered species and shares a close collaboration with international conservation agencies to help in achieving its goals.

Should we learn a lesson from our past and help preserve what is left ?

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Tonight I will cuddle up to my Dodo buddy and think if only I could have rescued him …… maybe I will dream of racing with him on the beach kicking coconuts  ….. unlike in the “Ice Age’ where it was watermelons !

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