Conservation of the Endemic Flying Foxes of TORBA and Temotu in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands

Project focus species

Pteropus fundatus (Banks Flying Fox)

Pteropus nitendiensis (Temotu Flying Fox)

Pteropus tuberculatus (Vanikoro Flying Fox)

There are more than 1300 species of bats worldwide. Twelve of these species occur in Vanuatu while the Solomon Islands has 40. Although there are other threatened endemic bat species in these two island nations, this project focuses on three prioritized species including Pteropus fundatus (Banks Flying Fox) in Vanuatu and Pteropus nitendiensis (Temotu Flying Fox) and Pteropus tuberculatus (Vanikoro Flying Fox) in the Solomon Islands. P. fundatus and P.tuberculatus and P. nitendiensis are endangered according to the IUCN red List of threatened species.

Project Aims:

  • To train Ni-Vanuatu scientists and students on biodiversity assessment methodologies
  • To increase knowledge about the distribution, ecology, genetics and threats to the Banks Flying Fox, the Temotu Flying Fox and the Vanikoro Flying Fox
  • To develop and implement species recovery plans for the endemic Banks Flying Fox, the Temotu Flying Fox and the Vanikoro Flying Fox

Project activities:

Training on biodiversity assessment methodologies has been given by mammal expert, Tyrone Lavery. An expedition to Mota and Vanua Lava in Vanuatu to study the endemic bats of these islands occurred in 2018 From the information gathered during the expedition it was clear that the distribution of the Banks Flying fox was unknown and could occur on more of the Banks islands than originally thought. Therefore the project was extended to include a questionnaire survey throughout the Banks Island group to find out where people see the different species of flying fox. The results of the questionnaire will determine the sites for a mist net survey of bats in the Banks islands where communities say they see the Banks Flying fox

The information gathered during the field work will be used to develop species recovery plans for the Banks Flying Fox, the Temotu Flying Fox and the Vanikoro Flying Fox.

Outcomes of the Project

  • Ni-Vanuatu scientists and students attain the knowledge and skills necessary to do biodiversity assessments
  • Increased awareness in communities of the distribution, ecology, genetics and threats to the Banks Flying Fox, the Temotu Flying Fox and the Vanikoro Flying Fox
  • Species recovery plans are developed for the endemic Banks Flying Fox, the Temotu Flying Fox and the Vanikoro Flying Fox. The recovery plans are approved by the Vanuatu government and Solomon Islands government and are implemented by the communities with the help of VESS.

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.”