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WCC 2016 Res 019 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
1D5DC7B3-D2A1-E611-B6EC-005056BA6623
IUCN Constituent type: 
IUCN Species Survival Commission 2017-2020
Period covered: 
2017
Geographic scope: 
Global
Country/Territory: 
Mauritius
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Members: 
Bat Conservation International, Inc ( BCI ) / United States of America
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation ( MWF ) / Mauritius
Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security / Mauritius
IUCN Commissions: 
F717E09E-5094-E611-97F4-005056BA6623
IUCN Secretariat: 
Yes
Implementation
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
ActionDescriptionStatus
Convene stakeholders/Networking1. Net Benefits Initiative - August 2017. Stage 1 of the joint initiative “The people, bats and fruit industry of Mauritius: a process towards a common solution” A two-day stakeholder workshop on netting and management of fruit bat damage to orchards was held in August 2017. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security via its Food and Agricultural Research Extension Institute (FAREI) and participants were drawn from small orchard owners, commercial orchard managers, netting importers and distributors extension officers and research staff from Food and Agricultural Research Extension Institute (FAREI), researchers and staff of National Park and Conservation Service (NPCS) and Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF), fruit exporters, and fruit traders. In addition to the Mauritian participants, five specialists from overseas participated: lychee farmers with successful experience in netting against bats in Australia, an expert in fruit bat ecology and bat damage prevention from Thailand, and human-wildlife conflict experts from the IUCN SSC Task Force on Human Wildlife Conflict, and Chester Zoo. The workshop comprised presentations, site visits and breakout sessions wherein working groups discussed key issues and strategies for reducing damage by bats and improving lychee productivity more generally. Completed
Education/Communication/Raising awarenessPublication of a Science Perspective "Can we protect flying foxes" by Christian Vincenot, Vincent Florens, Tigga Kingston. Science 355(6332): 1368-1370. The paper highlighted the intensity of threats to flying foxes, with introductory emphasis on the consequences of the cull of Pteropus niger on Mauritius. The importance of flying foxes for island ecosystems was detailed and the need for integrative solutions emphasized. Completed
Education/Communication/Raising awarenessThe Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is collaborating with Chester Zoo (UK) and National Park and Conservation Service (Mauritius) to try to understand the human-fruit bat conflict and take measures to address this conflict. These measures may range from education to practical mitigation measures. The education programme is also funded by Rufford Grant. The Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (ERA), Indian Ocean (Mauritiu) is conducting a 3-year educational program by which all the schools and community centers will be reached. Along with NPCS, ERA is testing organic repellents as well as sound systems to deter bats in orchards- non-lethal net free solution.On-going
Policy influencing/advocacyIn June 2017, a joint initiative “The people, bats and fruit industry of Mauritius: a process towards a common solution” was launched by the IUCN SSC Task Force on Human-Wildlife Conflict, with the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, (Government of Mauritius), and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), in consultation with representatives of the fruit-growing industry, the IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group, and members of the scientific community in Mauritius and overseas. The parties proposed an Action Plan that focused on a netting to manage fruit bat damage to orchards, development of a national research strategy, and mediated dialogues.On-going
Scientific/technical activitiesThe National Parks and Conservation Service of Mauritius have implemented two recent surveys of the Pteropus niger population of Mauritius (October 2016, 2017). The surveys followed a workshop and training event in April 2016 led by Dr Tammy Mildenstein of the Bat Specialist Group. The workshop equipped the NPCS to avoid use of disturbance counts and have greater confidence in counts derived from exit counts and roost urveys. Completed
Scientific/technical activitiesThe governement culls (late 2015, late 2016) of P. niger on Mauritius triggered a reassessment of the Red List Status of the species. This was completed in 2017 and is in final review by the Red List Unit. Completed
Please report on the result /achievement of the actions taken: 
Resulting recommendations of the Net Benefits Initiative Workshop focused on: 1. Nets and netting – provision of white, 40% UV-treated small mesh-size nets and assistance with materials/construction of net frames. 2. Pruning of fruit trees – to a maximum of 4 m (ideally 2 m). 3. Equipment and training – mechanisms for assistance with equipment hire or purchase needed. 4. Model orchards – of two types: a) existing orchards modified to improve production and ease of netting; and b) new orchards planted and managed to provide optimum production, ease of harvest and netting. 5. Development of export markets for tropical fruit – recognizing that to be competitive in overseas markets crops must be ethically sourced. 6. Backyard growers – behavior change (uptake of net use) requires peer-behavior incentive measures (social marketing, development of new social norms). 7. Continued dialogue and collaborative action. The surveys have provided current P. niger population estimates, that proved vital for the Red List Assessment of the species. No cull was implemented in 2017, a possible indicator of success of the collaborative efforts to resolve the conflict on Mauritius
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
Complex motivations behind the culls of P. niger on Mauritius in 2015, 2016, and polarized and entrenched perspectives of general public. Multifaceted approach (bat ecology research, conflict prevention through netting, outreach, advocacy, Red List reassessment) and joint initiative with the Malaysian government are measures taken to overcome challenges.
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Scientific/technical activitiesStage 2 of the joint initiative “The people, bats and fruit industry of Mauritius" is to develop a research strategy and action plan for Pteropus niger on Mauritius. A research strategy workshop is planned for May 2018. Mauritian and international experts from a range of disciplines will assess the state of knowledge on the human-bat conflict topic and identify current knowledge gaps and future research opportunities.