We urgently need your help to protect a unique and endangered species that is being pushed closer to extinction due to successive mass culls (culling involves slaughtering a proportion of a wild animal’s population). The Greater Mascarene flying fox (Pteropus niger) is found only on two tiny islands in the Indian Ocean. The island of Mauritius, once the land of the dodo, remains the main home for the flying fox. But for several years this home has become a place of persecution for the species since it was (mis)labelled as a pest. The Government of Mauritius implemented a mass cull in 2015 as a response to claims that the flying fox was causing extensive damages in orchards, a decision contradicted by scientific evidence. Following a second mass cull in 2016, over half of its world population was destroyed in only 14 months.
Now in 2018, the risk of extinction of the flying fox has substantially increased and despite the failure of the past two culls in boosting fruit production in orchards, a new cull was initiated. This third cull in just four years is aiming to decrease the remaining population by 20%, a target which was also set for the 2015 cull, but then largely exceeded during the killing spree.
Why it matters to help save the flying fox?
Because you will not save just one species! You will help save many other species and ecosystems that depend on this flying fox for their maintenance. Following the extinction of many animals including dodos and giant tortoises, the flying fox is now the only species responsible for the dissemination of large native trees species in Mauritius. This means that on its own the flying fox has a very important role in maintaining the unique biodiversity in Mauritius including native forests and the species in it. It is what is called a ‘keystone species’. Without the flying foxes, this already highly threatened biodiversity and the ecosystem services that they provide (provision of water, protection of lagoons etc.) will decline.
Finally, we also aim to use this initiative to serve as a test case example of solution that may help the conservation of the 65 other species of flying foxes worldwide as these are likely to become increasingly confronted with similar persecution.
Who we are and how will the funding be used?
We are a group of conservationists based in Mauritius, but we prefer to stay anonymous to avoid any eventual retaliation. Your funding will help us to increase efforts in protecting this endangered species by focusing on stopping inefficient culls, preventing future mass culls and advocate for known efficient alternatives, to the benefit of all.
More specifically it will be used to:
- Support legal action, and documentation needed;
- Effectively strengthen advocacy with government leaders for the need to protect unique ecosystems and species;
If funds are available we will also support on-the-ground activities through education and research towards reinforcing protection of bats.
Acknowledging your contribution
We welcome any size of donation, all of which will be used to ensure that this third cull is the very last one that this species faces. You will be kept updated on this page and through social media on the progress in achieving this goal.
All supporters will be acknowledged in planned videos (if they so desire) and, if enough funds are received, larger donors will receive a bat treat.