Grant awarded to NatureFiji-MarewetiViti by Conservation International Pacific Islands Programme.

One of the world’s rarest mammals, and Fiji’s only endemic mammal, the Fiji Flying Fox, Mirimiri acrodonta has only ever been found in the highlands of the Fiji’s ‘garden island’, Taveuni.

The Fiji flying fox was first captured in 1976 and introduced to the scientific community in 1978. Since then, it is only known from the three specimens taken by the Australian museum in 1990.

Nothing is known about the habits of the Fiji flying fox. This project will be the first step towards learning more about the ecology of this rare, unique and endemic bat.

There is currently no expertise in distinguishing the Fiji flying fox from the other native bats, in the field. Therefore the first step towards learning more about the ecology of the Fiji flying fox is to learn to distinguish it in the field.

NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, has secured funding from the Conservation International Pacific Islands Program, through their ‘Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’ to conduct research into distinguishing the Fiji flying fox in the field.

Annette Scanlon, a Ph. D researcher from the University of South Australia is currently undertaking research on native bats in Fiji, two of which also occur on Taveuni: the Pacific flying fox (Pteropus tonganus and Samoan flying fox (i>P. samoensis).

With her experience in identifying the Pacific and Samoan flying foxes, she will be leading the research with the aims of:

  1.  Distinguishing the Fiji flying fox in the field,
  2. demonstrating to local youths, communities and university students the distinguishing characteristics of the Fiji flying fox ,
  3.  initiating the production of a species recovery plan with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti and
  4.  provide backgound information needed for NatureFiji-MareqetiViti to initiate a Site Support Group for an island-wide awareness campaign.

Project partners and stakeholders will include:

  1. The National Trust for Fiji
  2. Cakaudrove Provincial Council office
  3. BirdLife International regional programme office in Fiji.

For more interesting facts on the Fiji flying fox, visit the ‘mammals’ section of our Endangered Species page, or contact us at the office for more information on the project.