Mauritius fruit bat (Pteropus niger) is an endemic bat listed as Vulnerable (being currently considered for Critically Endangered) by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The bats are perceived as major pests in Mauritius despite their important role in forest ecosystem as the only large frugivore on the island responsible for long distance seed dispersal and pollinator. The Mauritius fruit bat was a subject to national cull in 2015 and 2016 to reduce their impact on fruit farms which resulted in over 40,000 killed bats. However, studies from Australia or Thailand shows that culling does not work as bats will keep coming to feed in orchards. The objective of this project is to develop and test non-lethal audio-visual sound based, bat deterrence which can be applied in orchards. A single board based computer (SBC) will be used to emit varieties of sounds synchronized with light. The totally autonomous device will be placed in litchi and mango orchards. Sounds will include distressed bat sounds, predator call, dog barking, car and motorbike horn, fire crackers, shotgun, high pitch sounds, etc. If successful, it will be economically valuable and easy to use methods to protect both the crop and the bats.
Fruit bat; sound system; orchards; non-lethal deterrence