Sperm whale pod photo credit Gabriel Barathieu CC by SA2 .0


  • Sitting deep in the Indian ocean (to the East of Madagascar), it has relatively low diversity of wildlife, however, much the wildlife that it does have is endemic (found nowhere else).

The only mammals that make this island home fall into 3 categories. Bats have been able to fly to the island, marine mammals can reach the island and unfortunately, the final group is introduced animals by humans.

Taking the introduced mammals first, they consist of  crab-eating macaque, rats, mice, small Indian mongoose, tailless tenrec, rusa (Indonesian deer), as well feral dogs and cats and farm livestock, such as domestic ruminants, pigs and goats. These being invasive species have generally done damage, though this damage varies from catastrophic to mild.

There were once three native species of fruit bats on the island, two of which were endemic to Mauritius. Only the Mauritian flying fox remains on the island, while the Rodrigues flying fox is now only found on the nearby island of Rodrigues, and the small Mauritian flying fox has gone extinct due to humans. Two insectivorous microbats are also present, the Mauritian tomb bat and the Natal free-tailed bat. At the current time, the Mauritian government is not looking after these species well having culled Mauritian bats in 2015 (25% of the population) and 2018 (20% of the population). This was because they supposedly damaged the islands commercial fruit plantations (researchers do not agree with these findings)

There are at least 7 surviving endemic bird species. The Mauritius grey white-eye is the most common of these, being widespread across the island including in man-made habitats. The others are less common and are mainly restricted to the Black River Gorges National Park in the south-west of the island. The Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius parakeet and pink pigeon all came close to extinction but are now recovering though only due to intensive conservation efforts.Rodrigues has two further endemic species, the Rodrigues warbler and Rodrigues fody. Many small islands are named after birds, although some have seen their seabird colonies reduced or driven extinct by threats such as logging, poachers, or introduced species.

Dugongs lived around the island in the past, however they were declared extinct by the IUCN in 2009. However, occasional reports of sightings are still made. It is likely that should the dugong population recover in other parts of the Indian ocean, they might return here of their own accord.

Family: Balaenopteridae

  • Common minke whale, LC
  • Antarctic minke whale, DD
  • Bryde’s whale, DD
  • Southern sei whale, EN
  • Southern fin whale, EN
  • Pygmy blue whale, DD
  • Southern blue whale, EN

Family: Megapterinae

  • Humpback whale, LC

Family: Balaenidae

  • Southern right whale LC (rarer on today’s Mauritius)

Family: Physeteridae

  • Sperm whale,  VU

Family: Kogiidae

  • Pygmy sperm whale, DD
  • Dwarf sperm whale,  DD

Family: Ziphidae

  • Tropical bottlenose whale,  DD
  • Cuvier’s beaked whale, DD
  • Blainville’s beaked whale,  DD
  • Gray’s beaked whale,  DD
  • Hector’s beaked whale,  DD
  • Layard’s beaked whale, DD
  • True’s beaked whale, DD

Family: Delphinidae (marine dolphins)


  • Rough-toothed dolphin, LC
  • Risso’s dolphin, DD
  • Short-finned pilot whale, DD
  • Indian humpback dolphin,  NT
  • Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin,  DD
  • Common bottlenose dolphin,  LC
  • Pantropical spotted dolphin,  LC
  • Striped dolphin,  LC
  • Spinner dolphin,  DD
  • Long-beaked common dolphin,  DD
  • Fraser’s dolphin, DD
  • Melon-headed whale,  DD

False killer whale, DD

Pygmy killer whale,  DD

Orca,  DD

There is a thriving whale watching industry.

Mauritius News

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