Ile aux Aigrettes is a small (27 ha) island situated in the Mahebourg Bay, about 850 m off the south-east coast of Mauritius. Unlike the mainland which is of volcanic origin, Ile aux Aigrettes is made up of coraline limestone. It is home to the last remnants of dry coastal forest, once found around most of Mauritius.
Like the mainland, Ile aux Aigrettes was affected by tree logging and land clearance, and the introduction of exotic animal and plant species almost destroyed the native fauna and flora. In 1965 the island was declared a nature reserve and our intense conservation efforts have resulted in the restoration of the forest and reintroduction of rare species that had long since disappeared from the island.
Reptile species include the large, slow Telfairs Skink, several species of ornately coloured day gecko, and a population of non-indigenous Aldabra giant tortoise, brought to Île aux Aigrettes to take over the important ecological role of the extinct Mauritian tortoises. The large tortoises eat & spread the plant seeds and thereby help the forest to rejuvenate naturally.