SUPPORTED PROJECTS

Ecology and conservation of the endemic Nicobar flying fox (Pteropus faunulus) in the Nicobar Islands, India

Bandana Aul

The Nicobar Bat project focuses on the conservation and ecology of the endemic fruit bat, Nicobar flying fox (Pteropus faunulus) in the Nicobar Islands of India. The proposed project is a follow-up of the project 'Nicobar Bats 2003', which identified the Nicobar flying fox as a high priority species severely threatened by habitat loss and hunting for meat by the indigenous communities. The species is restricted geographically to a small group of seven Islands and appears to have become either extinct or very rare in its type locality, Car Nicobar Island—the most disturbed Island in its narrow range. The introduction of modern weapons, such as air guns, has aggravated the situation. Considering these problems and other factors, like non-applicability of government laws, the project will focus on the following: 1.) Conservation education and involvement of local inhabitants for protecting the Nicobar flying fox in the Nicobar Islands; and 2.) An intensive research program to identify ecological requirements of the species, including roost characteristics, foraging range and habitat, activity patterns and diet. The team expects to ensure long-term survival of this ecologically important species and to use Nicobar flying fox as a flagship species for initiating indigenous people-based biodiversity conservation in Nicobar Islands.

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