Armed with their guns, officers of the Special Mobile Force (SMF) will proceed to the elimination of bats as from this week.
The authorities do not intend to step back even after ecologists warned against getting rid of bats. The former argue that they are a nuisance accounting for the decrease in fruit production while the latter describe the mammal as essential for the dissemination of a variety of fruits. Furthermore, the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation previously requested the government to review its decision, explaining that bats are responsible for only about 11 % of fruit damage instead of the higher percentages put forward in Parliament.
The Ministry of Agro-Industry will see to it that SMF officers kill 20 % of the bat population. The National Parks and Conservation Service, the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, together with veterinarians will also assist in the project that will last for 3 weeks. The authorities have already identified the habitats of the animals. They also did a counting of the bats when they got out of their homes.
L’Express.mu reports that the Fund-Raising Manager of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, Jean Hugues Gardenne, argues that the control exercise might cause a drastic decrease in the bat population. He also describes it as “cruel” because it is being done at a time when females are carrying their young.