A First Day Cover on the Mauritius Kestrel which has been declared the National Bird of Mauritius in the context of the 30th Anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius and a new postage stamp, were launched, this morning, at Pétrin Visitor’s Centre, in Pétrin, by the Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin. The Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, and other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.
In his address, Minister Balgobin highlighted that the rescue of the Mauritius Kestrel is one of the greatest conservation success stories and, to celebrate this success, the Mauritius Kestrel has been declared ‘the National Bird of Mauritius’ on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the accession of Mauritius to the status of Republic.
The Minister lauded the excellent work done by the Mauritius Wild Life Foundation, the National Protection and Conservation Service, and the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security who took up the challenge to rescue the Kestrels from extinction and increase their numbers to some 350 wild birds currently.
He reiterated his full support to the Mauritius Post Ltd which falls under the aegis of his Ministry, for its contribution to celebrate the declaration of the Mauritius Kestrel as the National Bird of Mauritius through the launch of this First Day Cover and new postage stamp.
Furthermore, Minister Balgobin announced that the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage has set up a logo competition on the theme of Mauritius Kestrel, and the logo of the winner of the competition will be used to issue a new stamp as regards the Kestrel at the end of the year 2022.
For his part, Minister Gobin indicated that at its meeting of Friday 17 December 2021, the Cabinet had agreed to proclaim the Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) as the National Bird of the Republic of Mauritius as it is an endemic species unique to Mauritius.
He further stated that the Cabinet has also agreed in its meeting of Friday 11 March 2022 to the introduction of the National Flag, Arms, Anthem and Other Symbols of Mauritius Bill into the National Assembly. The objective of the Bill, he emphasised, is to consolidate and update the laws with regards to the national symbols of Mauritius, such as the Arms of Mauritius, the National Flag of Mauritius and the Seal of Mauritius.
Mr Gobin pointed out that the opportunity is being taken to give legal effect to the National Anthem of Mauritius (Motherland), to the National Flower of Mauritius (Trochetiaboutoniana) and to declare the Kestrel bird (Falco punctatus), as the National Bird of Mauritius. The Bill will provide for better protection and use of the national symbols of Mauritius, he concluded.
The Mauritius Kestrel
The Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) is unique to Mauritius and is one of the nine endemic bird species still left on the island. The species was saved in-extremis with an increase from just four birds in 1974, including a single breeding female, to a peak of about 600 individuals. However, because of the degradation of the Mauritian native forests, the kestrels are now found only on the eastern and western part of the island – where they continue to face the effects of habitat degradation and predators. The actual population of the Mauritius Kestrel in the wild amounts to some 350 individuals.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.
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