Our Flying Foxes.
The Vanuatu Flying Fox is Vanuatu’s largest native mammal, yet most Ni-Vans have never seen one in the wild. These too, are on the verge of extinction. Here at ‘The Reef’ we have engaged in a captive breeding program where we have successfully welcomed several baby flying foxes into the family.
Flying foxes eat fruit and other plant matter, and occasionally consume insects as well. They locate resources with their keen sense of smell. Most, but not all, are nocturnal. They have long life spans and low reproductive outputs, with females of most species producing only one offspring per year. Their slow life history makes their populations vulnerable to threats such as over-hunting, culling, and natural disasters. Six flying fox species have been made extinct in modern times by over-hunting. Flying foxes are often persecuted for their real or perceived role in damaging crops.
They are ecologically beneficial by assisting in the regeneration of forests via seed dispersal. They benefit ecosystems and human interests by pollinating plants, much in the same way as bees.
Mammals are vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia, and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, fur or hair, and three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles and birds. There are around 5,450 species of mammals. The largest orders are the rodents, bats and Soricomorpha (shrews and others). The next three are the Primates (humans, apes, monkeys, and others), the Cetartiodactyla (whales and even-toed ungulates), and the Carnivora (cats, dogs, seals, and others).