Mascarene Islands

The Mascarene Islands are a 1512 ( other sources say 1505 or 1510) by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas discovered the island chain.

The Mascarene Islands lie about 850 kilometers east of Madagascar around 20 degrees south latitude in the Indian Ocean. They include the French overseas department of La Reunion, Mauritius and the State of Mauritius belonging Rodrigues Island. The islands lie on a submarine plateau which originated from the decay of the southern supercontinent Gondwana about 200 million years ago. They are of volcanic origin.

Due to its remote location and the fact that they were never connected to the mainland, the Mascarene have a very unusual wildlife with a high proportion of endemic species. Before the arrival of humans there were several types of flightless birds, many of which are now extinct. These include the Leguats Crake ( Aphanapteryx leguati ), the Mauritius Parrot ( Lophopsittacus mauritianus ), the Rodrigues Solitaire ( Pezophaps solitaria ) and the Dodo ( Raphus cucullatus ). The Rodrigues Fruit Dove ( Alectroenas rodericana ) was indeed capable of flight, but here led the entrained by Europeans rats to the fact that no young birds of this ground-nesting pigeon were great. In addition, there were giant tortoises of the genus Cylindraspis whose tanks were regressed to varying degrees.