Adorable Fijian freetail bats! Photo courtesy of Bat Conservation International at rainforesttrust.org.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! Mine was wonderful because I had Monday and Tuesday off of school because of Teacher Work Days! That means I had a four-day weekend to sleep late!

I found an interesting article about bats in Fiji and how people are working to help them. There are only six mammal species native to the Fiji Islands, and all of them are bats! There are Fijian Monkey-faced bats, Samoa flying-foxes, Insular flying-foxes, Long-tailed fruit bats, Fijian mastiff bats, and Polynesian sheath-tailed bats. Sadly, all but one of these species are in trouble. The Fijian Monkey-faced bat is critically endangered, the Fijian mastiff bat and Polynesian sheath-tailed bats are endangered. The Long-tailed fruit bat is vulnerable. And the Samoa flying-fox is near threatened. The only one of the six that is safe is the Insular flying-fox. Luckily, there are people working towards helping as many bats as they can!

The Rainforest Trust has partnered with the National Trust of Fiji and Bat Conservation International since 2017. They have created a reserve for the Fijian mastiff bat, also known as the Fijian Free-tailed bat! Researchers think that almost 95% of the species’ global population lives in one cave. The cave is on the Fijian island, Vanua Levu, near Nakanacagi village. This habitat is incredibly important to the bats’ survival, and it’s under constant threat from habitat loss in the forests surrounding the cave and direct hunting of bats as a source of food. The cave is also the only known maternity colony for this species. Twenty acres of land that covers most of the cave was purchased for the reserve in 2018. The area is now called the Nakanacagi Cave Reserve and will help add a layer of protection for the bats’ roost. And just this week, they were able to raise enough money to add another 34 acres to the reserve! Another way they are helping the bats is by reaching out to the community located near the roost. They are building a consensus for conservation, which has already helped stop some of the bat hunting in the area! During the next few years, the reserve will be formalized under the Fiji Forestry Department’s Reserve Demarcation Policy.

If you would like to read more about this, you can find information here.

I hope you all have a great week!

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