"LA VANILLE CROCODILE PARK"

La Vanille Crocodile Park is situated in the south of Mauritius. It was opened in 1985 and occupies the valley of a former vanilla growing area. The site is the equivalent of a tropical rain forest with exotic palms, freshwater streams and local flora and fauna.

The park is the brainchild of Owen Griffiths, an Australian zoologist and his Mauritian wife who discovered that the area was suitable for the farming of Nile crocodiles. The first crocodiles, one male and four females, were imported from Madagascar and their offspring placed in heated indoor nurseries for one year before they were released into ponds.

The crocodiles are kept in secure enclosures, according to age, until they reach maturity. The site is a tourist attraction with a collection of monkey, deer, giant tortoise, tenrec, rabbits, bats, wild pig and a giant Telfair Skink which is indigenous to Round Island. There is also an exhibition room containing specimens of Mascarene reptiles with descriptive notes in English. Among the exhibit are the luminous green True Chameleon and one of the largest species of lizard, the giant Phesuma from Madagascar. There is a car park, restaurant / snack bar and toilets.