The Jean Boulle Group is a strong supporter of conservation and anti-marine pollution initiatives.
Specifically, it has worked alongside experts on reptiles in the 19 islands of the Saint Brandon archipelago and with MWF, ECOSUD and BirdLife International towards conservation and Eco-awareness in Mauritius. The Group has also been actively involved in supporting wildlife and with sustainability programs in a number of other territories beyond Mauritius.
Kestrel Valley – Protection of Mauritius Kestrel
The Mauritius Kestrel (falco punctatus), originally from the adjoining deep valleys of the Bambous Mountain Range, was saved from almost certain extinction by hand-rearing the last breeding pair in existence and releasing their chicks into the safety of Jean Boulle Group’s Kestrel Valley. Starting in 1994, 331 birds were released into the wild in Mauritius.
Monitoring and protection of the Mauritius Kestrel are ongoing at the Valley as is the Group’s strong liaison with and active contribution to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. In 2013, the international conservationist Nathalie Boulle was honoured with the BirdLife President’s Medal for inter alia ‘being a strong supporter of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, encouraging and supporting their application to become a BirdLife Partner, and sponsoring their delegate to the World Conference’.
Saint Brandon is an Indian Ocean archipelago about 430 kilometres Northeast of Mauritius. The Jean Boulle Group, through the Raphael Fishing Company, contributes to the conservation of the 13 islands it holds under a permanent lease by controlling invasive foreign species and monitoring plastic pollution and the presence of heavy metals. Both Nathalie Boulle and the ninety-year-old Raphael Fishing Company work closely with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) to protect the islands’ ecology but also to make them more accessible to Mauritians on a long term, sustainable basis. An example of this synergy with the MWF is the organisation and funding of a 7 day fact-finding mission by three highly acclaimed international experts (Professor Henk Bouwman (Ecotoxicology, Environmental Pollution, Bird Ecology); Professor Tony Martin (world’s foremost expert on marine mammals) and Dr. Nick Cole (herpetologist; MWF Islands Restoration Manager) in 2016 to raise awareness about the need to protect the islands and to investigate, for the longer term, the effects of plastic and heavy metal pollution in the Indian Ocean.
Working closely with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), BirdLife International, National Parks and Conservation Service of Mauritius (NPCS), and Forestry Service the Jean Boulle Group enabled the emergency rescue of three species of rare reptiles, which might otherwise be facing extinction, following the Wakashio oil spill in Mauritius.
In the immediate aftermath of the spill small numbers of lesser night geckos, Bojer’s skinks, and Bouton’s skinks were captured from the southeast islands of Mauritius and held in a temporary bio-secure holding facility on the mainland. However, this was only a temporary solution. The reptiles arrived at Jersey Zoo where they are receiving expert care from leading herpetologists and this safety net population will form a breeding programme from which the animals, their offspring or future generations can eventually be released back into the wild.
Moving the reptiles to Jersey is a lifeline in establishing assurance populations of these animals and their unique genes away from the disaster zone until the long-term impacts of the oil spill are fully understood. These offshore islands offer great diversity in plant and animal life and are home to some of the world’s rarest species, which are found nowhere else on Earth.
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