Start or end your visit with a self-guided tour of our museum, Ebony Experience, written and illustrated by British palaeontologist and artist, and critically acclaimed author of Lost Land of the Dodo, Julian Hume.
Your journey through the museum starts with the volcanic origin of the island 10 million years ago and is followed by the arrival of species and why Mauritius has such a rich and unique biodiversity. Witness how tragedy rapidly unfolded for the island’s flora and fauna following human colonisation in 1598. Hunted, logged, predated on by introduced invasive mammals such as rats, cats, deer, monkeys and goats, endemic species after endemic species were driven extinct. Most famous of all, the Dodo. The museum is a tribute to the spectacular creatures such as giant tortoises, dodos, and giant skinks, just a few of the 46 land vertebrates that lived in an ebony forest, before humans. Today, only 24 native species remain and many are threatened with extinction.
Despite the dire situation for Mauritian wildlife, we have confidence that we will stop further species extinctions. At Ebony Forest, we are weeding, planting endemic species to provide food and shelter for the threatened reptiles, birds, invertebrates and bats. The impacts of us, humans, on nature should not be forgotten. It is also not too late to take action.
Did you know that ebony wood is one of the most valuable woods in the world? As it grows slowly, the wood is very dense and hence strong. Ebonies have one of the hardest and heaviest woods known. Ships carrying harvested ebony timber risked capsizing as the wood sinks.
You can spend hours in the museum. If you are short of time, a must-see is the 6-8 minute film in English or French about the island’s unique and fragile biodiversity, sponsored by the Mauritius Commercial Bank and produced by Mystic Mauritius.