On the third day of Christmas NFMV shared with me:
THREE FLYING FOXES
Two friendly ground doves
And a fruit dove in a mango tree.
Fiji’s Flying Foxes
Many people are frightened of bats because of the legends of blood sucking vampires. Bats are really amazing creatures that play essential roles in the balance of Nature!
Our gift to you today is to open your eyes to these incredible animals by sharing information about three of our very own bats. We hope you will grow to love and value them. You may well wish to help them in return.
Read on to find out more!
So far you have learned about fabulous fruit doves. Today we are going to share some bat facts and a template for your very own Fiji blossom bat mask, giving you a great chance to recycle Christmas packaging.
Fiji has 6 species of native bats, three of which are cave roosting bats, while the other three roost in trees. Three are frugivorous, two are insectivorous and one is nectivorous. Today we will tell you about one of each.
BATS IN PERIL! -The Fijian Free-Tailed Bat
- Our Fijian free-tailed bat is insectivorous (it eats insects)
- Insectivorous bats catch the insects in the dark. They find them by echolocation. As they fly, they give out a continuous series of high pitched squeaks. The sounds bounce off the insects and back to the bat’s VERY large ears so they can move in and slurp them up!
- Free-tailed bats are part of the culture, tradition and history of the people in Nakanacagi, who have certain activities associated with their ‘bekabeka’. Fijian free tailed bat is tiny and very cute. It is only about 7cm long (about the same length as your little finger!)
- Although they are also found in Vanuatu, Nakanacagi Cave in Macuata is VERY important place for bats. Because NFMV provide so much information, it is recognized as the World’s representative of the cave roosting site for the Fijian free tailed bat.
- Fijian free-tailed bats are the farmers’ best friends. By controlling the insect population of the area, they prevent them from destroying crops.
- Although the Macuata provincial office has been working very closely with NFMV to protect them, the bats are NOT safe!
- Part of the bat cave structure runs under a logging access road so is threatened by diggers upgrading the road, and logging trucks laden with heavy logs.
- The cave has been cracking in places and there are bat entrances inside the cave that have crumbled in.
- If this continues, the whole cave could be destroyed. Our endangered free-tailed bats would be destroyed, never to return!
Can you help?
Yes you can! Join us. Become a member or a supporter of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti. Help us to make a difference!
This is a pregnant female from the island of Taveuni, the only confirmed location of this species in Fiji. Vinaka vakalevu to Guy Botroff for this picture.
This captured pregnant female was released after this photograph was taken.