The Mauritius Kestrel is a member of the Falconidae family that lives only on the island of Mauritius. Deforestation and animals brought by immigrants to the island shrank their population so far that at one point, only four were in existence in the wild.
Body length: 20 to 26 cm
Weight: Male 178 g, females 231 g
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Mauritius Kestrel lives only on Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean.
They are carnivorous, eating mainly lizards. They also catch small birds, dragonflies, and rats.
The Mauritius Kestrel hunts its prey from above tree tops, sometimes catching dragonflies in mid air.
Once virtually extinct?!
In 1974, there were only six Mauritius Kestrels in the world (of which only four were wild). The reasons for their near-extinction are deforestation, environmental pollution from agricultural chemicals, and the introduction of non-native species, such as crab-eating macaques and cats to the island. A non-native species is an animal or plant that does not originally exist in a given location. Crab-eating macaques and cats were brought to the island of Mauritius by humans.
Conservation activities are a success!
Today, there are more than 400 wild Mauritius Kestrels in existence. This increase is the result of artificial breeding and return-to-wilderness efforts. Other factors that led to their recovery include the extermination of non-native species and the provision of food and artificial nests in their habitat. While it is still too early to rest at ease, their remarkable recovery from the brink of extinction serves as an encouraging example for animal lovers everywhere.
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