Identifying and protecting important habitat for the Fiji Mastiff bat and the Banks Flying fox in Vanuatu

Fiji Mastiff Bat

Photo: David L Waldien

Project focus species

Chaerephon bregullae (Fiji Mastiff Bat)

Pteropus fundatus (Banks Flying Fox)

There are more than 1300 species of bats worldwide. Twelve of these species occur in Vanuatu (4 fruitbats and 8 microbats). This project is focusing on the Fiji Mastiff Bat. This small bat only occurs in Vanuatu and Fiji and it is listed as endangered on the IUCN red List of threatened species. Only one breeding cave for these bats has been identified and it is located in Fiji. We aim to identify where the important habitat, including breeding sites, for this small bat are in Vanuatu. We will also be continuing our previous work to help protect the Banks Flying fox.

Project Aims:

• Identify potential Fiji Mastiff Bat habitat

• Capture FMBs to reocord thier calls

• Locate roosting and breeding sites

• Determine baseline distribution and habitat use of the Fiji Mastiff Bat.

• Train local biologists/surveyors in the use of acoustic equipment.

• Educate and increase awareness about these bats amongst communities and tourism operators.

• Ensure conservation requirements of the species are incorporated into sustainable tourism management

• Develop a national plan of action for the Fiji Mastiff Bat in Vanuatu.

• Continue to support conservation efforts of communities in the Banks Islands to conserve the Banks Flying Fox.

Project activities:

• A questionnaire throughout Sanma province to identify potential places where the Fiji Mastiff bat could be found.

• Field trips Espirito Santo, Malo and Aore to trap the bats to record their calls, to measure them and take samples for genetic testing.

• Create a library of bat calls that can be used to identify bats without having to catch them.

• Second field trip to use bat detectors to establish where the Fiji Mastiff bat habitat is.

• Awareness workshops about bats for lcoal communities

• Revisiting the communities in the Banks islands to support their efforts to protect the Banks Flying Fox.

The project activities for the Fiji Mastiff Bat will occur in Sanma province, mostly in southern Espiritu Santo, Aore and Malo. We will also return to the Banks Islands to coninue working with communities in Mota, Vanua Lava, Mota Lava and Gaua to help protect the Banks Flying Fox.

Outcomes of the Project

• Ni-Vanuatu scientists attain the knowledge and skills necessary monitor bats using acoustic bat detectors

• A national library of bat calls

• Communities that live close to Fiji Mastiff bat and Banks Flying fox will be aware of their conservaiton needs and will have to knowledge to conserve these species.

• Establishment of the distribution and population estimates of the Fiji Mastiff Bat.

• Draft National Plan of Action for the conservation of the microbats and fruit bats and draft species recovery plans for the Fiji Mastiff Bat and the Banks Flying fox

Funding

This project is funded by the Critical Ecosystem partnership Fund (CEPF). “The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.”