Hello people...Alvania again
Growing up as a Seychellois, we have always seen bats. They are as popular as trees in the environment. This is part of the reason that I did not believe it when Teesha Baboorun and Francois Baguette told us that a type of bat was critically endangered.
I could not imagine such a patronised mammal near extinction.
In spite on this, during the last week of our internship on Silhouette Island with Island Conservation Society (ICS), we worked on identifying their frequency on the bat logger and read numerous books about them, but it was still hard to believe.
However, on Thursday 15th December we left the office around 14 00 for the journey that would change our perception.
Prior to the start of our short trek, we were warned not to tell anyone about the sheath-tailed bat's location as this would pose a threat to their tiny population. Due to this, I cannot thoroughly explain the location nor can I provide pictures.
The most I can say about the path leading to it is that it was un-noticeable and a place that would be very difficult to detect.
At first when we got to the cave, I could not identify any sheath-tailed bats...but when I looked through a pair of binoculars I could see them. They were so small and the darkness of the cave had camouflaged them. In the first cave I could only count two. Then we moved to the second cave but this time I did not need binoculars. We counted twenty-two of them.
They we noticeable because they were hanging in a group. Yes...the population of the sheath-tailed bats are only twenty-four in total. They, being so small does not help either. As this makes them more vulnerable to extinction because they can be harmed easily. They feed on insects, so the lack of insects because of fogging or spraying of insecticides will result in a decline in their population.
They are like the small onyx of Seychelles. Precious, rare and tiny (their total width including their wings are the size of two small hands put alongside each other). They are nothing like the fruit bats that we see every day. They are part of the reason that Seychelles is unique.
So let us protect the sousouri bannann (sheath-tailed bat).