The fauna and flora of the islands of Mauritius and the habitat of the species have suffered greatly from human habitation. The deforestation of the lush forests has destroyed the habitat for the original fauna. Many species died out. Particularly affected here was the native bird life. Many birds landed in the cooking pots or fell victim to imported monkeys and rats. Except for some bat and bird species, the original fauna of Mauritius is completely eradicated.
The Dronte (Dodo)
The most famous animal and symbol of Mauritius is the Dronte, popularly also called Dodo. It has been extinct for centuries. The Natural History Museum of Port Louis has one of the rare skeletons completely preserved and a reconstruction of this run bird. Particularly striking features were the short stubby legs, a crooked beak, feathers that began only behind the eyes, and the flight disability.
The animal grew to 20 – 25 kg. In the course of evolution, it had reduced its wings and tail to small tufts. Since the Dodos had no natural enemies, they had lost their flying ability. However, with the arrival of humans, enemies came to the island.
Up to this point, the eggs and young birds never threatened danger, the Erdbrüter could thus get along with one offspring per year. With the foreign settlement in the 16th century, predators such as rats, pigs, goats and monkeys, which also fed on eggs and young birds, were brought to the island. Likewise, the tasty meat was preferred by the people.
When there were still rainforests in Mauritius, a large number of colorful birds lived on the island. Many of these species have fallen victim to human habitat changes. In place of the eradicated animals, other species became indigenous. In the last remnants of the original forest ecosystems in the southwest of Mauritius, some of the endemic bird species such as the Kestrel, the Rosata, the Mauritius and the Mauritius caterpillars have found a last resort. The Mauritius Kestrel or Kestrel is the only bird of prey in Mauritius and the rarest hawk on earth. By 1970, only four animals of this species existed in Mauritius. Thanks to an intensive conservation program, it was possible to increase the population to more than 400 animals. However, the Mauritius Falcon remains on the Red List of Endangered Species.
Reptiles and lizards
In Mauritius one finds only smaller reptiles. Chameleons and lizards live mainly in the extensive and extensive sugar cane plantations. There are no poisonous snakes on the island.
Often there are small geckos in Mauritius. The harmless animals live on the walls and ceilings and are important insect exterminators in the homes of the natives.
As in the Galapagos Islands, you will also find a rich population of giant tortoises in the Indian Ocean. The Mauritian giant tortoise was helpless at the mercy of man. Because the animals could survive for months without food, they were a welcome meat reserve on the ships. The giant tortoises exhibited today on the island belong to a species that was native to the Atoll Aldabra, which is located about 400 km north of Madagascar. The only three surviving specimens of the Mauritian species are protected on the Ile-Aux-Aigrettes in a natural park.
The mammals were represented before the settlement of Mauritius only by a few species. There are two endemic species of bats on the island. Already in the 16th century rats came to Mauritius with the first ships, which destroyed many other species. For the control of the rodents were settled on the island Indian Mungos. Today they live in many regions and are often seen on the streets around the vast sugarcane fields.
The Dutch introduced red deer from Java. In the pasture areas, the stock is estimated at over 25,000 animals.
400 years ago, Portuguese introduced small macaques from Asia to the island. The monkeys come out of the woods into flat land and browse plantations and settlements for food. They robbed eggs from nests, so that it came through the macaques already to the eradication of many species of birds. In the population they are highly regarded and serve by their tasty meat as food.
Canada’s climate is divided by the continental location into Arctic and temperate zones. The largest part of the country has pronounced and dry-hot summers and very cold but mostly sunny winters. These times last at least five months.
If you go further north, the seasons of spring and autumn are shorter and the further you go north. Here, these seasons are limited to two to three months. In winter, the arctic climate with its cold air fronts makes itself felt far into the southern parts of the country.
In the summer, temperatures in the southern regions of Canada are often up to + 35 ° Celsius due to the warm air fronts from the Gulf of Mexico. In the northern parts of the country, however, summer temperatures average + 15 ° during the day. These can sink at night to below freezing.
In winter, the temperatures fall on average -5 ° to + 10 ° in the south and + 5 ° to -40 ° in the north of the country.
Temperatures on the milder southern Pacific coast of British Columbia are usually above freezing. In winter, heavy snowfall occurs in all parts of the country except Nova Scotia.