Written by: Fabiola Monty
Islands are known to have high levels of endemicity with many unique species found only within their small boundaries. Madagascar and several Indian Ocean islands such as the Seychelles and Mauritius, form one of the 25 most biologically rich areas on earth. The Mauritian flying fox, found in Mauritius, the land of the dodo, is one such species. Yet it may soon join its compatriot in the grave.
Once occupying three islands in the south-western part of the Indian Ocean, it is now found only in Mauritius as a result of habitat loss, cyclones and hunting. Currently it is a threatened species that can play an important role in the regeneration of the severely degraded Mauritian native forests.
However, due to claims of economic losses from fruit growers, and assumptions that the population of the species has increased dramatically, a decision was made by the Mauritian government in the beginning of October 2015 to cull 20% of the bat’s global population. Despite local and international NGOs providing scientific evidence that this culling will not only be catastrophic for this threatened species, but that it will also not solve the problem, around 18,000 Mauritian flying foxes are targeted and will soon be shot.
We await to see the world’s response to the killing of 18,000 individuals of an endemic and threatened species for no justifiable reasons. Join the Campaign to help save the Mauritian flying fox.
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