Black River Gorges National Park (BRGNP) that stretches from latitudes 200 21'S to 200 29'S and longitudes 570 22' E to 570 31' E, is a site covering 6,574 hectares (ha) comprising of entirely State Land representing 3.5 % of the island and lies in its south-west corner, and comprises 2 portions as follows:
PORTION No. 1: This portion of 6,372 ha, is bounded as follows:
Towards the North starting from boundary stone NR3/1 on the summit of Tamarin Range, along a line running south-east on the southern boundaries of State Lands St. Francois and Boucherville on 1070.45 m to stone U, then across State Land Mare Longue on 487.68 m to stone U4, then along the southern boundary of State Land Loulie to its junction with western boundary of State Land Sainfray, then along its prolongation being in part the crest of Mare Longue Reservoir to Mare Longue Road, then south along the eastern edge of Mare Longue Road to its junction with a forest road leading to Macchabee Road, then in a South-westerly direction along the northern edge of that forest road to Rivulet Gros Piquet, south along the eastern bank of Rivulet Gros Piquet across State Lands Florin and Desgranges to a point lying 370 m east of Riviere des Aigrettes, then along a line running in an easterly direction to a forest road, then south along the eastern edge of that forest road to its junction with another forest road leading to Les Mares Road, then along the northern edge of that forest road to Riviere des Aigrettes, then by the eastern bank of Riviere des Aigrettes and its tributary, Feeder Peche, to stone NR7 near les Mares Road.
Towards the east, from Stone NR7 across State Land Maudave (Terrain Raoul) on a straight line of 894.27 m to stone NR1 near Rivière du Poste, then along the eastern bank of Rivière du Poste to its junction with Grand Bassin Road, then in a westerly direction along the northern edge of Grand Bassin Road to its junction with Les Mares Road on 928.71m, then south along the eastern edge of Les Mares Road through stone U34 to its junction with a forest road, then in a south-easterly direction on a developed length of 1.3 km along the northern edge of that forest road across State Land Les Mares, then in a north-easterly direction through the summit of a hill lying 995780E, 973000N, and following a ridge to the western boundary of State Land Le Juge, then south-east by that boundary to stone U21. Then by the eastern edge of a forest road in State Land Le Juge running in a north-easterly direction to its junction with another forest road. Then along the southern edge of that forest road running easterly though State Land Le Juge to the northern boundary of State Land Combo, then in a southerly direction to Combo Ridge, then east and south on a line along Combo Ridge to its junction with River Savanne, then south by the eastern bank of River Savanne to stone U54.
Towards the south, starting from stone U54, along the boundary of private property to stone U55, then along the crest line of Savanne Range to stone U22, then by a straight line to stone U23, then by the Mountain Reserves of Savanne range and by the crest of Mount Cocotte to stone U26, then by Mountain Reserves and private property along three lines passing through stones U27 and U28 to stone U29/WF73, then by private property on two lines through stones WF74 and WF75, then along the eastern bank of Rivulet Jacobie up stone WF59, then again by private property on two lines through stones WF60 and WF61.
Towards the west, starting from stone WF61 along the boundary of State Land Bel Ombre on three lines passing through stones WF62 and WF63 to stone U. Then by the boundary of State Land Fantaisie on three lines running through stones U. Then by the boundary of State Land Bele Vue on 52.12m, then by the boundary of State Land Petit Val along a spur on five lines running through stones U to a stone D.B, then in a north-easterly direction along the boundaries of State Land Petit Val and Petit Nuage. Then by the boundary of State Land Petit Nuage to stone WF65. Then by the boundary of State Land Bel Ombre on five lines running through WF66, WF67, WF68, WF69 and WF70. Then by the southern boundary of State Land Corbeille on two lines to a stream. Then following the northern bank of the stream in a north-easterly direction to the southern boundary of State Land Coin du Mouchoir. Then by the western boundaries of State Lands Coin de Mouchoir and St Denis on six lines passing through stones U, MRL14, MRL13 and MRL12 to MRL11. Then along Ligne Buguth running in a north-westerly direction on two lines to stone MRL27, and by its extension to the crest line of Rivière Noire Range. Then by Mountain Reserves along the crest line of Rivière Noire Range, passing through Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire to State Land Bele Vue. Then by the southern and western boundaries of State Land Bele Vue and Mountain Reserves on five lines to State Land Kushparwanahine. then along the western and northern boundaries of State Land Kushparwanahine on five lines, then by the western boundaries of State Land Black River Gorges Valley on seven lines passing through stones U28, U9, U8, U7, U6 to U5. Then by the prolongation of the line passing through stones U6 and U5 in a north-easterly direction to the crest of Tamarin Range, then following that crest in easterly and northerly directions to the starting point NR3/1.
PORTION No. 2: This second portion of about 202 ha. is bounded as follows:
Towards the South, starting from stone U1 at the south-east corner of State Land Vally, by Mountain Reserves and private property on eight lines through stones MRL1, MRL2, MRL3, MRL4, MRL5, MRL6 and MRL7, then along a line in a south westerly direction to its junction with the Case Noyale - Chamarel Road.
Towards the west, along the northern side of the Case Noyale-Chamarel Road to a prolongation of the crest line of Rivière Noire Range, then by that crest line to stone U21.
Towards the north, from stone U21 by the boundary of Mountain Reserves through stones U20, U19, U18, U17, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8, U7, U6, U5, to U4.
Towards the east, from stone U4 to the crest line of a ridge, then south by that ridge to stone U3, then crossing the Chamarel-Plaine Champagne Road to the northern boundary of State Land Vally, then east by that boundary to stone U2, then south by that boundary to the point of commencement at stone U1.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
The Black River Gorges National Park (BRGNP) has a high ecological value. It is the primary habitat for most of the Mauritius' threatened endemic birds and the rarest endemic plants. The establishment of BRGNP has been a vital move in the protection of its unique and rich ecosystem and therefore is certainly an important heritage to be preserved for future generations.
The untouched integrity of the once unique and rich flora and fauna of Mauritius which characterised the country, has been systematically eroded by the following:
(a) increase in human population from 0 at the beginning of the 1450s to 1.2 million people now in a country of 1842 km2 area;
- (a) clearance of the forest for agriculture and infrastructure development;
- (b) introduced animals like the deer Cervus timorensis, the pig Sus scrofa, the monkeys Macaca fascicularis and ship rat Rattus rattus;
- (c) the negative impact of cyclones and other natural disasters on fauna and flora; and
- (e) the invasive plant species that aggressively colonise any open gaps in the forest to compete directly with the native flora by forming monotypic stands.
For the past ten years, the Government of Mauritius, through the National Parks and Conservation Service, has been striving relentlessly to control the alien invasive species. Ten Conservation Management Areas covering a total area of about 50 hectares have been set up. These fenced areas are intensively managed. Out of the 50 hectares, 38 hectares have already been weeded.
The Black River Gorges National Park has the vestiges of the last native forests which prevailed before Mauritius was colonized. It is the home of 163 of the 311 endemic flora species and habitats for the remaining 28 endemic bird species found in Mauritius. 21 of the 44 known species of endemic land vertebrates in Mauritius and adjacent islands are now extinct. However, many of those remaining species that still exist are critically endangered and the fact that Mauritian flora is rated amongst the most endangered in the world, the BRGNP warrants favourably for inscription on the World Heritage List.
The Park has been one of the World's most successful and cost-effective conservation programmes with focus on saving the Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus) pink pigeon (Columba mayeri) and echo parackeet (Psittacula eques). Consequently, the International Council for Bird Preservation ranked the Park as an outstanding one amongst 75 forest areas in the African Bio-geographical region in terms of its conservation merit.
The Park will continue to remain a strong hold and most important habitat for the many gravely endangered faunal and flora species, besides its special physical (natural) splendour.
Comparison with other similar properties
The Black River Gorges National Park, in view of its rich endemism and magnificent natural beauty, can easily be compared amongst other World Heritage Sites such as the:
- Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, Seychelles which is found in the heart of the small island of Praslin. The reserve has the vestiges of a natural palm forest preserved in almost its original state. The famous "coco de mer", from a palm-tree once believed to grow in the depths of the sea, is the largest seed in the plant kingdom.
- The uKhahlamba - Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep- sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the site. The site's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants. This spectacular natural site also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa, south of the Sahara, made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years.
- Simens Mountains National Park (SMNP) located in the north Gondor Zone of northern Ethiopia is already a World Natural Heritage Site. Its size is about twice that of the Black River Gorges National Park with precipitous escarpments giving spectacular view of peaks and Canyons. Like BRGNP, the Simen Mountains National Park is home to over 20 species endemic to Ethiopia, 5 of which are endemic to the Park. The large mammal Walia Ibex capra ibex walie, which is the national symbol is endemic to Ethiopia and is only found in the Simen Mountains, is threatened with extinction. Both SMPN and BRGNP are habitats of organisms that are national symbols of those two countries.
- The Bwindi Impenetrable National park (331 Km2) found in south-Western Uganda has similar on going geological and ecological processes to those of Black River Gorges National Park. Bwindi, like Black River Gorges National Park, supports a large number of plants and animals endemic to the region and most of which are endangered and some threatened with extinction. Most notable is the highly endangered Mountain Gorrilla gorilla berengei.