A Japanese ship, MV Wakashio, has been leaking oil from its cracked hull after it ran aground on July 25 off the coast of Mauritius.
It was carrying nearly 4,000 tonnes of fuel, and thick sludge has inundated the island’s unspoiled lagoons, marine habitats and white sand beaches and is damaging the fragile coastal ecosystem.
Attempts to stabilise the vessel and to pump fuel from its hold have failed.
Local authorities fear rough seas could further rupture the tanker.
Wildlife workers and volunteers ferried dozens of baby tortoises and rare plants to the mainland.
Hundreds of more volunteers have been marshalling along the coastline, in a desperate attempt to hold back the oil. The ship’s owners have apologised.
France and Japan are sending teams to help.
Mauritius has appealed to the United Nations for urgent aid, including help from experts in oil spills and environmental protection.
This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Hassan Ghani.