The Mauritius Flying-Fox is the Ongoing Target of Controversial Culls

Orchard growers in Mauritius complain that flying-foxes damage mango trees and lychee crops. However the Journal for Nature Conservation research reports that orchardists cause the waste by allowing their fruit to over-ripen and added to that are damaging effects on the fruit by strong winds, birds, rodents and insects.

Guillaume Chapron, a Swedish ecologist, whose work, using legal action to win conservation battles, inspired the protection of the flying-foxes . Chapron stated 'Mauritius is a good illustration, on a small scale, as soon as wildlife is perceived to impact economic interests, there is no political will for conservation'.

Scientists are now supporting a lawsuit against the government on grounds of animal welfare violations. If they lose the case, the scientists are concerned that Mauritius could set a dangerous precedent for targeting endangered species around the world that are seen as a nuisance to human activity.

In a 2017 study, Vincent Florens, an ecologist at the University of Mauritius, and his colleagues found that the bats disperse seeds from 53 percent of forest trees in Mauritius. Florens said 'Their ecological role is enormous. All these trees are dependent on this one little endangered bat that the government is massacring'.

Netting the orchard trees, as an alternative to shooting has been proposed, a strategy similar to that used in Australia. However, if the orchard growers do a poor job installing the netting, wildlife are still able to eat the fruit through the net or become trapped inside the netting.

Florens and his colleagues eventually hope to create a bat-friendly certification that will allow consumers to use purchasing power to support fruit growers who sustainably exclude flying-foxes and birds from their crops rather than rely on culls. It is hoped that experts will help fruit growers install small aperture, robust 'state-of-the-art' netting which will not cause injury and/or death to wildlife by entanglement.

It needs to be said that our culture is changing and 'living with wildlife' is now an ethical, mainstream maxim. Furthermore, shooting endangered flying-foxes is not a popular look for attracting tourists to the unique island of Mauritius.

To add your voice to the plight of the Mauritian flying-foxes, please email:

Australian High Commissioner in Mauritius:, 

Mauritian Embassy, Canberra               

Mauritian Environment Minister:          

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