The endangered Rodrigues fruit bat is found on one very small island in the Indian Ocean, part of the Mauritius Islands off the coast of Madagascar. After years of human persecution and habitat destruction, the fruit bats on Rodrigues Island almost went extinct, with the wild population dropping below one hundred indviduals. For over a decade, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) has had a program called the Rodrigues Environmental Education Programme (REEP). This program is partially funded by Organization for Bat Conservation members.
With OBC financial support, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation holds an annual bat festival, provides environmental presentations for schools, and enhances natural habitat. The festival includes a bat count at three locations (open to the public), media interviews, and distribution of educational tools to the public, businesses, libraries, and schools. The foundation also produces educational tools like the Rodrigues fruit bat sticker, brochure, and poster. MWF hosts a photography competition with the theme “Bats in the Wild” with each winner receiving an autographed book by OBC Executive Director, Rob Mies.
The award-winning Rodrigues Environmental Education Programme has been very successful in the protection of the endangered Rodrigues fruit bat, the population estimate is over 10,000! This is up from 5,000 only a decade or so ago. Some of this change may be attributable to better census techniques but the bats are also clearly benefiting from increased attention and focus. Education is the key to conservation!
The total annual budget for this project is $16,000 and historically most of this has come from the Philadelphia Zoo and the Organization for Bat Conservation. Please donate today to continue the successful conservation or the Rodrigues fruit bat.