Why is Mauritius killing its bats? Department faculty member Prof. Brandon P. Anthony leads study to understand government culling of last endemic mammal on island of Mauritius

September 4, 2018

In collaboration with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, Prof. Anthony has co-authored a publication which conceptually maps the interaction of stakeholders concerning government culls to address predation on fruit trees by Mauritius’ last known endemic mammal, the IUCN Endangered Mauritius Fruit Bat, and to develop mitigation strategies to resolve this conflict. The paper has been recently published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Abstract: Interactions between people and wildlife have both positive and negative aspects. Negative interactions, commonly termed human-wildlife conflict (HWC), have increased in recent decades due to a number of factors including difficulties in identifying and communicating the complexities of stakeholder values and positions over wildlife and its management. Here, we present the perceptions of two conservation organizations on the landscape of HWC involving the threatened Mauritius Fruit Bat Pteropus niger, Kerr 1792, in Mauritius, including damage to fruit crops and controversial government culls in 2015 and 2016. Participants identified 18 stakeholders in the conflict varying in importance and influence, examined where and how hostility is manifested, and delineated both perceived and real costs of the conflict. Additionally, 13 environmental and 17 social risk factors associated with the conflict were categorized, along with potential policy and management options for mitigation. We argue that initial in-house workshops are advantageous in understanding conservation conflicts before extending dialogue with other stakeholders.

The full paper is available here.