Mauritius Wildlife Foundation Denounces Project to Kill Bats

The Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF) has issued a communiqué yesterday, October 8, to request the government not to go forward with the project of killing bats.

bats

The MWF looks forward to preserving the bat communities in the country. It has contested the figures given by the Minister of Agro-Industry, Mahen Seruttun, in Parliament on Tuesday. According to the organisation, bats are responsible for only 11 % of damage caused to fruit production, as opposed to was mentioned, that is, 73 % & 42 % for litchi and mango production respectively.

Furthermore, the MWF argues that the population of bats allegedly amounting to around 90,000 individuals has not been confirmed in a recent study.

It has, on the other hand, proposed to the government to extend the subsidies on the buying of protective nets for fruit trees. Such a measure is said to ensure fruit production is preserved. It has also asked planters to better manage their harvest.

MWF adds that other animals account for eating away fruits such as rats and birds. Furthermore, bats are essential for pollination, and, therefore, the dissemination of different plant species.

Also, a university study led by Malikah Wachill shows that the majority of Mauritians do not view bats as a nuisance.

3 comments

  • All bats are important. These fruit bats are not destroying the fruit. They are actually helping by distributing the seeds so that MORE trees grow.

    The Fruit Bat

    Anna looked at her mother one night and said, “Mom, will you please tell me the story about the orchard?”
    Her mother softly smiled, “Of course sweet heart!”
    Anna laid her head softly on her pillow. Her mother sat next to her. You could hear the wind outside blowing softly. The moon shone really bright. Anna’s cat Mr. Crinkles was laying at her feet. Anna couldn’t wait to hear the story. She had already heard it many times before, but she could never hear enough.

    Her mother nestled in and wiped a tear from her eye. This happened every time because of how moved she was by the story. She settled down and began the tale.

    “I was a little girl just like you. My father and mother could barely put food on the table. My father had lost his job and my mother wasn’t making enough money to take care of us all. There were days we had to go without any heat in the house during winter in order to share one can of soup amongst us all.” Her mother wipes away a tear remembering how hard those times were. She remembered going to school in rags and all the children making fun of her. She remembered all those days her stomach begged for food. She remembered the look of sorrow and dismay on her parents’ faces.

    Anna’s mother continued, “‘What are we going to do? We can’t live like this!'” I heard my mother say one night. The cupboards were getting empty and the refridgerator had only a cup of milk in it. There was almost no food. My stomach grumbled wanting food. I went into the room, “Mom, I’m hungry!” My mother held me and started to cry, ‘I know honey! Here’s some milk.’ She gave me the last of the milk. Dad sighed. He didn’t know what to do. Our situation was hopeless.

    One day my father came upon an apple tree. He brought one home and we all tasted it. ‘This is delicious!’ said my mother. It was indeed the best apple I have ever had. ‘I found this apple tree. It’s back near the forest by the creek.’ my father answered. I knew not to go into the forest. He had warned me so many times. My mother smiled, ‘I can make pies and jams and jellies and I can sell it all and we will have money and…’ my father interruped her excitement, ‘There isn’t enough fruit from that tree. All we can do is use it for ourselves.’

    My mother hung her head disappointed. My father took out another can of soup to feed us. I knew not to complain of what I was eating because I was grateful I had food to eat. I licked every bit of soup I could get. I wasted not a drop. No one wasted a thing.

    That night my mother tucked me into bed. She read me a story, turned on my night light, and left the room. I heard her and my father talking again about what was going on. I felt terrible and wish I could have helped, but I didn’t know what to do.

    Later that night I heard a rustling noise. I snuck outside and listened to find out where that sound was coming from. ‘It’s coming from over near the apple tree.’ I whispered quietly to myself. I approached the apple tree very carefully but kept at a safe distance. I watched as I saw the tree leaves shake and ruffle around. ‘What’s happening?’ I thought. Then suddenly I saw a giant monster! It had huge wings and was eating the apples! I quickly ran back home.

    I was so scared. I thought for sure that giant monster was going to attack me. I didn’t tell my parents. They would have scolded me for going out at night. ‘Oh no! There’s a monster out there! It’s eating all our fruit!’ I silently wept. I knew that monster would eat all the fruit and ruin the tree. My dad would find out and…”

    Her mother pauses and blows her nose. Anna knows her mother is very moved by the story. Mr. Crinkles crawls on her mother’s lap and starts to purr even he understands.

    “Months passed and one day my father ran inside. He was panting. ‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ asked my mother concerned. ‘It’s the monst…’ I stopped myself. Luckily no one had heard me. My father asked, ‘Did you plant any trees?’ My mother looked at him confused, ‘No, I haven’t.’ My father didn’t know what to think. He took us all out to the apple tree. Sure enough there were at least 12 other apple trees growing. ‘How did these get here?’ he asked, ‘if you didn’t do it and I didn’t do it, who did this?’ None of us could figure out how they got there.

    Then one night I decided I would find out who was doing this. I snuck outside and sat near the old crickety fence. I watched the apple tree. Then to my horror I saw the monster again! I wanted to run! It was going to get me! ‘Stay calm. You need to find out what’s going on!’ I told myself. My heart pounded waiting for the giant monster to swoop down and take me away. I watched carefully and the giant monster flew away. I followed carefully after it and noticed somethings falling to the ground. I didn’t know what they were. I was scared but I had to tell my parents.

    The next morning at breakfast we were having eggs, bacon, sausage, and orange juice. I really love orange juice. I told my father and mother what I had seen last night. My parents asked me, ‘Why did you go out at night?’ I felt my face flush with shame. I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I had to find out!’ They followed me outside,. I shown them what I had seen. My father said, ‘This is guano. It comes from a bat’ I didn’t know what guano was. All I knew is it wasn’t chocolate. I figured that the monster must have been a bat. ‘Don’t bats attack you and suck your blood and want to eat you for a side dish?’ I asked worried. My father chuckled and replied, ‘No, those are all myths my dear.’ I sighed glad and relieved that it wasn’t a monster.

    A year passed and soon mom was selling her pies, jams, and jellies like hot cakes. They were so delicious! We opened our own bakery and made a lot of money from the sales. Our orchard grew to be a very big orchard. Our cupboards filled to overflowing with food enough so we could donate to others in need. We all received brand new clothing and the refridgerator was always stock full of food. I had my first turkey dinner for Thanksgiving! I was so happy!

    That night I went outside again and I looked up into the trees. I saw the same bat and more bats just like it. I laughed that I had thought it was a monster. I realized that they were no monsters at all. They were my friends. They are all our friends.”

    Anna’s mother kissed her good night. Anna held tightly to her favorite stuffed toy. A bat she named Poppy.

    Thank you fruit bats for all you do.
    For all the fruit that you chew.
    For keeping trees all around.
    By planting seeds each night on the ground.

  • Instead of persecuting bats, how about studying them and understanding them?

    The key to solving the supposed ‘bat crisis’ is education. We need to learn how humans and wildlife can co-exist without the need for mass slaughter, on the one hand, or crop failure, on the other.

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