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Only native land mammal

The bat, better known as a bat

The Indian Ocean Chiroptera Group (GCOI) is an association whose missions are the study, dissemination of knowledge and protection of bats in the western Indian Ocean and more particularly in Reunion (974). Bats are the only land mammals indigenous to Reunion Island. They were present on the island long before man settled there. Large consumers of insects, bats regulate insect populations and thus prevent the spread of certain diseases to humans and crops (they consume the equivalent of 3,000 mosquitoes in one night!).

Frugivorous and nectarivorous species participate in the pollination of flowers, the dispersal of seeds and the regeneration of forests. Little known, these nocturnal mammals nevertheless play an essential role in all planetary ecosystems. The reduction of their natural habitat caused by urbanization, the transformation of landscapes and the destruction of their roosts by humans constitutes one of the greatest threats to them.

The GCOI is therefore actively engaged in raising awareness among the local population and communities about these protected species.

Currently we have identified 3 species on the island:

  • The Reunion Island Molosser (endemic to the island, insectivorous)
  • The Taphian of Mauritius (native, insectivorous)
  • The Black Fruit Bat (native to the Mascarenes, frugivorous - critically endangered)

In 2021, the GCOI is taking the initiative to adapt Operation “Refuges for Bats” to Reunion and thus making it the first “overseas” to deploy these shelters. The Le PAL Nature Foundation made it possible to launch the project and begin reflection and writing work in order to adapt the content of the media to the local context.

The Foundation's help made it possible, in particular, to design and produce a technical guide, a brochure, a panel and a sticker. It also enabled the acquisition of 1 ultrasound detector and 2 pairs of binoculars to observe bats in buildings and on trees during visits.

On Reunion Island, rats, mice, pitches, hares, deer, dogs and cats are all exotic mammals.
Did you know ?

On Reunion Island, rats, mice, pitches, hares, deer, dogs and cats are all exotic mammals.

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