Culling of Mauritian Bats: Open Letter To Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius


Dear President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim,

We write to you today on behalf of all Mauritian citizens who care about our unique fauna and flora to ask you to please take a stand on the current biodiversity crisis in Mauritius.

In this letter we are not only addressing the President of the Republic but we are also proud to be able to call upon an internationally recognized professional and scientist. Because as a woman with scientific expertise you have the unique capacity to shape the future of Mauritius in ways that many other countries and parliaments are not able to do. As you know, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security has made the decision to implement the culling of 20% of the population of the country’s endemic and threatened Mauritian flying fox (Pteropus niger). However scientific evidences, as presented by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, as supported in a letter by Bat Conservation International to the Ministry in August 2015 and as discussed by the IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group in their position statement on 15 October 2015, all indicate that this decision not only ignored the scientific facts but also used inaccurate statistics to justify the culling.

Mrs the President, You of all people in our government are able to distinguish between scientific-based arguments and assumptions. You of all people in our government are able-to understand the importance of using robust scientific data for effective decision-making. Mrs. The president, you have yourself stood for the protection of plants; contributed hugely towards the recognition of the importance of our endemic plants. You out of everyone know the importance of bats for our endemic plants and their important ecological roles.

So Mrs the President,  this is THE opportunity for you to use both your position and scientific expertise to shape our country into a progressive one that values its biodiversity, a country that cares about the type of legacy we are going to leave our children and grandchildren. Because if this cull eventually happen, we may lose one of our unique species and along the way threatens even more our already fragile forest ecosystems. We plead you not to play a part in this tragedy.

Now Mauritius is looking to you, Mrs. President, – to promote the use of humane and environmental-friendly alternatives to bat culling.

Culling of bats is wrong and will be ineffective.  It is time that the voices of qualified scientists is heard and that their proposed non-lethal alternatives are considered. 

With all the knowledge and information available, with all the examples of failures and successes when it comes to resolving human-wildlife conflicts in other countries, we are in the capacity to take the RIGHT decisions. There will be absolutely no plausible justifications for mistakes that the Government of Mauritius may do.

Mrs. President, this is your opportunity to take a stand for the Mauritian biodiversity that is currently in crisis.

We hope this letter reaches you and that our voices will be heard.

Mauritian Citizens who care


  • It’s good to know that there some “Mauritians who care”, because sadly the impression one gets all too often is that many Mauritians do NOT care – about wildlife, the environment, history and heritage and much else besides.

  • It’s good to know that there some “Mauritians who care”, because sadly the impression one gets all too often is that many Mauritians do NOT care – about wildlife, the environment, history and heritage and much else besides.

    I have just returned from Seychelles where the attitude is so different. I did not find one person – from government minister to cook, cleaner, taximan or market stall holder – who did not understand the importance of looking after the environment. The Seychellois are proud of their country and their culture (one Creole culture, incidentally, not a patchwork of competing cultures), and respect the land and the sea.

    In Seychelles it is legal to eat bats, but the number taken seems to be small and the Seychellois don’t have the ‘kill them all’ attitude that we’ve seen in Mauritius. Maybe this is because they are better educated and understand that people can happily share space with wildlife. The Seychellois I spoke to were horrified by the Mauritian bat cull and could not understand why anyone would want to do that. When they heard about the dog killing and the monkey exports they were even more disgusted, as are people in France, the USA and the UK.

    It hurts me to see Mauritius getting itself a bad reputation around the world. There will be economic, as well as environmental, consequences to this attitude of treating the natural world as something to be used and abused, or killed if it gets in our way. It’s simply unsustainable. Nature hits back when she’s abused, so expect floods, droughts, sea level rise (making coastal areas uninhabitable), crop failure and eventually desertification and starvation. What future then for ‘Paradise Island’ and its tourism industry?

    We are just a few days from the big Paris conference on climate change, COP21, so let’s hope that Madame President responds positively to the open letter and can begin to change the attitude of Mauritian politicians and public.

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