The Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii) is one of the largest fruit bats in the world and found exclusively in the Comoros islands; nowhere else in the world. It is thought that there are less than 1,300 now surviving in the wild.
There are a number of extreme pressures on the forest habitat where the Livingstone’s fruit bats live. With limited areas on the islands for growing crops and a high demand for new land, the forests are being lost at an alarming rate. As well as forest loss to farming, timber is used for building materials and as fuel for domestic cooking. There is also a high demand for wood fuel for the distillation of ylang-ylang oil; an ingredient of many modern perfumes and cosmetics. The Comoro Islands are the world’s biggest producer of this oil, hence the huge demand for wood from the distilleries.
Forest loss also has a dramatic effect on other trades, such as fishing.
Tonnes of silt carried in rainwater is deposited on reefs surrounding river mouths. This leaves the reefs unable to sustain life and the fish are soon gone. Local fishermen are thus forced to look further afield or turn to new trades.
With partner organisations we are working with local communities in the Comoros to help them improve their livelihoods; encourage alternative methods of agricultural development, sustainable land management and highlight the importance of local biodiversity. As well as addressing forest loss, this will help safeguard the future of the Livingstone’s fruit bat.
Working with local people to build solutions is fundamental to tackling the problems in the Comoros Islands.
We help identify and develop alternatives to non-sustainable practices for locals who depend on agriculture and wood collecting for their livelihoods. Changes in farming methods, improved crop production and new sources of income are prime examples. These measures will support development without the catastrophic impact on wildlife or other natural resources.
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