Mauritius Last Standing Mammal is Alive and Well

The last remaining native mammal to Mauritius is the fruit bat. It flies with ease but as every other species of bat, it is not one that favours the sun like other birds. Raja Datar of ‘The Travel Show,’ a regular BBC program, visits the Islet of Ile aux Aigrettes, the town hosting the huge conservation project mimicking the pristine environment of about 5 centuries ago, before the arrival of humans to the Island.

Dr Yikash Tataya, of Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, in a documentary interview is quoted as saying “this is the Mauritian fruit bat, it is unique to the island nation and can fly between 15 to 40 kilometres in a single night. Moreover, their hand, which is similar to that of man, has been amazingly modified into a flying wing, over time”.

Features and Activities

This thriving mammal dwelling in a well-protected environment has eyes through which it perceives clear sight against the popularly held opinion that it is nearly blind. They are typically rested during daylight, in a bid to conserve their energy and also due to the temperature extremity in the tropics. But as night falls, they leave in search of food.

They eat fruits to stay alive and are also wonderful dispersers of fruit seeds, which is responsible for their own survival, considering the effective maintenance of the forest these new trees offer. Beyond the Mauritius fruit bats, the larger project in the Islet of Ile aux Aigrettes is hugely ambitious, earning it international acclaim as a result.

“We are basically recreating the entire ecosystems. This project is one of those places in the world where we are looking beyond plans of conserving a few plants and animals; we are actually putting together as much as possible of an entire ecosystem that will be identical to the one that existed centuries before our arrival on the Island,” said Dr Yikash Tatayah.