Study

Quantifying the damage caused by fruit bats to backyard lychee trees in Mauritius and evaluating the benefits of protective netting

  • Published source details Tollington S., Kareemun Z., Augustin A., Lallchand K., Tatayah V. & Zimmermann A. (2019) Quantifying the damage caused by fruit bats to backyard lychee trees in Mauritius and evaluating the benefits of protective netting. PLoS ONE, 14, e0220955.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use non-lethal measures to prevent bats from accessing fruit in orchards to reduce human-wildlife conflict

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Use non-lethal measures to prevent bats from accessing fruit in orchards to reduce human-wildlife conflict

    A replicated, controlled study in 2016–2017 of 18 lychee Litchi chinensis trees in three towns in central Mauritius (Tollington et al 2019) found that covering individual branches with nylon net bags reduced damage to lychees, mostly caused by Mauritius fruit bats Pteropus niger. Lychee yield from panicles that were covered with net bags was 33% greater than that from uncovered panicles (data reported as statistical model results) due to reduced damage by Mauritius fruit bats, birds, or other causes. Bats were estimated to damage 42% of lychees, birds 13% and unknown causes or splitting 21%. Up to six individual panicles on each of 18 ‘backyard’ lychee trees were covered with nylon net bags and six were left uncovered (total 75 covered, 81 uncovered). The number of lychees on each panicle and damaged/fallen lychees were counted every 2–3 days over an average of 18 days in November–January 2016/2017. Damage by bats was identified from bite marks or discarded seeds.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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