Livingstone's Fruit Bats
Livingstone's Fruit Bats are on the list of species at risk of imminent extinction. This means that the entire wild population of an estimated 1,200 individuals could disappear very soon.
In captivity, there are approximately 100 individuals on a breeding studbook programme, 3 zoos worldwide that currently hold this species, with only 2 of them breeding them - including Northumberland Zoo.
Livingstone's Fruit Bats originate from two small islands off the coast of Africa - part of the Union of the Comoros.
These remote islands are subject to tropical thunderstorms and an increasing human population.
Threats in the Wild
Loss of Habitat
In the last 25 years, 75% of the natural habitats on the islands have been logged.
The rate of development on the Comoros Islands is of one of the highest in the world in the last 20 years, with a current human population increase at 2.5%.
Livingstone's Fruit Bats have been forced up to higher elevations in the mountains into more fragmented and exposed roost sites as their lower, preferred habitats have been replaced by agricultural land.
This island coutry is one of the world's poorest and least developed nations, making it extremely difficult to protect habitats and educate the locals about their rare endemic megabat species.
With global warming intensifying weather systems, the entire population of remaining bats are at risk from being swept out to sea during a severe storm. The bats are then too weak and not strong enough to fly back to the islands.
These tropical storms also cause damage to trees & roosts, leaving the bats without homes.
For the past decade, the NGO Dahari has pioneered efforts to conserve and restore the forests of Anjouan in order to improve the resilience of the Comoros’ biodiversity and population.
As part of its 2022-2027 strategic plan, Dahari plans to gradually expand protection of Livingstone’s fruit bat roosts to all sites on Anjouan, and subsequently to Mohéli - via a newly-established partnership with the Mohéli National Park. This will secure the future of the species in the wild.
Dahari is working with local farmers to reforest the islands and plant 65,000 trees per year in watersheds.
GPS tracking of bats to understand roost usage, feeding grounds and their use of the landscapes.
Supporting over 3000 farmers per year with agricultural support.
Dahari engage with the local people of the Comoros and educate them about the bats who share the island
Roost Protection Scheme
Protecting 23% of the population of fruit bats by including 7 known roost sites in a conservation agreement scheme.
They created the first community-led no take zone and the implementation of six temporary fisheries closures benefitting 1650 fishers
At Northumberland Zoo
Northumberland Zoo contributes financially towards the Dahari strategic plan. As part of their 2022-2027 strategic plan, Dahari plans to gradually expand protection of Livingstone’s fruit bat roosts to all sites on Anjouan, and subsequently to Mohéli - via a newly-established partnership with the Mohéli National Park.
This will help secure the future of the species in the wild.
Northumberland Zoo is home to a breeding population of Livingstone's Fruit Bats with the plans to increase the captive population.
Keeping this captive population also provides us with opportunities to research and better understand these unique animals.
Alternatively, if you would like to make a donation to help us with our conservation aims, you can donate here.