Flagship species: Livingstone Fruit Bat

The Livingstone Fruit Bat, Pteropus livingstonii, which is endemic to Anjouan and Mohéli, is a flagship species of the Comoros and also a conservation priority for Dahari. Ecological studies carried out by the ECDD project have shown thatmany bat roostsin Anjouan have disappearedover the last ten years and that most of the remaining roosts are threatened by landslides, deforestation and the extension of agricultural land.

The Livingstone Fruit Bat was discovered to science on the island of Mohéli by the explorer David Livingstone. It is distinguished by its large size and is the fourth largest bat in the world,with a wing span of up to 2 metres. It is characterised by dark brown to black fur, with blond hairs across the shoulders and groin area. This species is found in very hilly forest areas, at an altitude above 200 metres on the island of Mohéli and above 500 metres on the island of Anjouan. The Livingstone Fruit Bat can be seen during the day in tree roosts 20 metres high, usually situated on very steep slopes facing south-east which get morning light and shade from early afternoon. Their feeding sites are still unknown. Their diet consists mainly of fruits and leaves.

This species is at risk of extinctiondue to changes in its habitat brought about by deforestation, the extension of agricultural activities and also by natural threats such as landslides that sweep away tree roosts, or climatic disasters which, although rare, can decimate trees and their fruits, the primary source of food for the fruit bat.

A better understanding of the ecology and behaviour of the Livingstone Fruit Bat is essential for the conservation of the species. This was the task undertaken by the ECDD project andis now the focus of the Dahari team.

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