Tropical islands are idyllic places, paradise on Earth. Although amazing as tropical islands are, they are being lost. The number of extinct species is highest on islands, as the map shows (proportional dots representing birds that had disappeared since the year 1500).
The most famous of all extinct birds is the dodo, which lived in the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, some 800 km east of Madagascar (with some of the large dots on the map). The dodo is also the very symbol of species extinction caused by humans.
Mauritius has lost most of its original and unique animals after the arrival of man in the 17th century, fortunately less of its plants. Today, Mauritius has the 3rd most endangered flora in the world, just behind the island of Santa Helena (most famous for having Napoleon Bonaparte as prisoner) and Hawaii. The reason is the extensive deforestation to make place for sugar cane plantations, leaving only 5% of its native ecosystems original cover. To complicate matters, non-native plant species that have been introduced by humans invade the little remaining forest, and today make 50-80% of the stems in the best quality vegetation.
How was Mauritius when the dodos were happily walking around? With the help of new technologies, it is possible to have a Dodo ‘bird-eye view’ (check at The world of the dodo).
If you enjoy seeing through the eye of a dodo, we hope you would like to help saving what it is left from the world where the dodo once lived.