- Captive birds on Dutch Mauritius: bad-tempered parrots, warty pigeons and notes on other native animals
- Historical Biology
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
During the occupation of Mauritius by the Dutch in the seventeenth century, live dodos and other animals were transported to the east and west as curiosities and gifts by the Dutch East India Company. How these animals managed to survive these journeys, when human casualties on-board ship were so high, has remained a mystery. Here, we present for the first time a translation of the recently discovered report of Johannes Pretorius, who stayed on Mauritius from 1666 to 1669. Pretorius kept a number of now extinct birds in captivity, which was probably an experiment to ascertain their captive requirements prior to transportation. He also provides the first ecological details of some of the now-extinct birds and Mauritian giant tortoises, the impact of introduced animals, and highlights how little of the interior of Mauritius had actually been explored during this time.
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