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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

African Island of Mauritius Dodo Birds

Mauritius is a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean and home to some of the world's rarest plants in the world. The island was an uninhabited island when the Dutch took possession in 1598. Abandoned in 1710, it was taken over by the French in 1715 and seized by the British in 1810. Mauritius gained independence in 1968 as a monarchy, and became a republic in 1992. 

The Dodo bird

The Dodo is an extinct flightless bird that became isolated on the African island of Mauritius. The Dodo is frequently used as a mascot on Mauritius by clubs, teams and businesses. Moreover, the Dodo makes an appearance on the Mauritius coat of arms. 

The first recorded mention of the Dodo was by European sailors around 1598. Naturally, no photographs exist of the Dodo bird, its appearance is only known by written literature, and illustrations. Wild and domesticated animals hunted the bird and more importantly their eggs. It is widely accepted that the last Dodo was spotted between the years of 1658-1680.

Mauritius coat of arms

A team from Oxford University and the Natural History Museum, London, has uncovered evidence on the genetic origins of the Dodo bird. DNA revealed the closest living relative to the Dodo is the Nicobar pigeon, from Southeast Asia. Secondly, the next nearest relatives to the Dodo were found to be the crowned pigeons of New Guinea, and the curious tooth-billed pigeon of Samoa.


The coat of arms of Mauritius consists of a Dodo Bird and Sambur Deer supporting sugar cane and a shield divided into four sections on a shield. In the first quarter a lymphad, an ancient ship with one mast, in the second, 3 palm trees, in the third is a key and the last a mullet argent. The country's motto, Stella clavisque maris indici, or Star and key of the Indian Ocean in English, is displayed in Latin on a ribbon below the shield, Dodo Bird and Sambur Deer.

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