In their Underground Atlas, MIDDLETON & WALTHAM (1986) dismissed Mauritius as: “very old volcanic islands with no speleological interest”. Recent investigations indicate this judgement is inaccurate; there are over 50 significant caves, including lava tube caves up to 687 m long (one 665 m long was surveyed as early as 1769) and 35 m wide. Plaine des Roches contains the most extensive system of lava tube caves with underground drainage rising at the seashore. Notable fauna includes an insectivorous bat and a cave swiftlet (Collocalia francica), the nests of which are unfortunately prized for ‘soup”. The caves are generally not valued by the people and are frequently used for rubbish disposal or filled in for agricultural development.



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