The disappearance of the Megachiroptera, a very rare species on the brink of extinction, would impact human beings sharing her environment in unique and dramatic ways that triggered our interest in producing a complete series of in-depth study supported by a video documentary.
The purpose of this endeavor is not solely entertainment, but also the imperative need to focus and provide documentation about the Megachiroptera (also known as the Livingstone Flying Bat), the Comoros Islands, and the microcosmic environment in which humans, fauna and flora evolve in an elaborate state of dependency on which their future depends.
This website brings together all stakeholders interested in contributing to a better understanding of the interdependency between humans and nature, and to the development and production of activities and programs that would result in positive outcomes for a better future.
Surviving exclusively in two of the Comoro islands, the Livingston giant fruit bat is a Megachiroptera described by the Durell Wildlife Conservation Trust as follow:
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) currently classifies Livingstone’s fruit bat as Critically Endangered on the Red Data List (2000), on the advice of the IUCN’s bat specialist group. This means that it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.
The species is also listed under Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which affords it the highest degree of protection against any international trade.
Since we discovered this creature’s significant interaction with the environment and inhabitants of the Comoros Islands, we decided it would be worth bringing an unfolding dramatic story into the spotlight to help avoid what, based on the way things are evolving, could become a major catastrophe for the inhabitants, to start with.
As a creature, the bat is generally ill perceived by the public. She frequently arouses either indifference, or unreasonable fear. In the Southern Hemisphere, among impoverished population, she is often a prey, hunted for its valued and consistent meal .
The bat is proven and credited for its contributions to the environment and human life, in countries where it belongs. For example, based on scientific references, the common insectivorous Microchiroptera, participates in the decrease or proliferation control of harmful disease vectors like endemic malaria (plasmodium falciparum and vivax) - Anopheles mosquitos or other flies carrying endemic infections.
In very specific geographical locations, the Megachiroptera fruit bat is one of the key actors – along with indigenous birds – in the regeneration of primal forests and woodlands vegetation as they spread seeds and pollen although the limited number of this species representatives and its exclusive dependance (obligate species) make them more vulnerable and subject to extinction than the rest of the Chiroptera lineage.
The peculiar situation of the Comoros Islands - isolated in treacherous seas and climate with tortured volcanic topography – highlights the intricate relationship between humans and their environment: should any constituent of the main core group be removed, the whole structure will collapse!
In our documentary we will diligently demonstrate how the Livingstone Flying Fox participates in the preservation of an equilibrium conducive to sustainable life in the Comoro Islands, and we earnestly describe the catastrophic consequences of her potential extinction, including the discontinuation of a thread of scientific research about the interrelation between the life of human beings and their ecosystem. We have already located areas where the disappearance of primal forest and its flora due to logging resulted in creating barren land, not even fit for agriculture.
Our intention is to raise awareness and identify precise, tangible links between human development and the health of the environment, especially in the microcosmic Comoran area. We believe that this work will eventually allow proper reflection on social and economical issues faced by similar areas in numerous locations on our Planet. We will demonstrate how short term gain at the expense of natural environment undoubtedly jeopardizes sustainable and beneficial outcomes, while comprehension of the universal chain of life requires very little compromise in social development and leads to positive developments.
HOW IT STARTED:
In January 2009, we were commissioned to produce a video presentation for the International Conference for Development of the Union of the Comoros. This presentation depicted the social and economical situation of the Comoro Islands and put forward the need for investment in the structural and educational sectors in particular. The endeavor was supported by the UNDP and culminated with the release of a French, English and Arabic audiovisual presentation screened exclusively within the Conference debates.
During the course of this production, we discovered the unique richness of the human and natural environments on the Islands. This is where and when, among our many findings, we learned about the Livingston Bat and its predicament. When we returned home, we decided to start a research which lead, a year later, to the development stage of the present proposal for a documentary project.
This new 2015 documentary proposal is accompanied by 5 years supporting research and a video trailer, which, we should mention, is provided as a reference only since it was not filmed, produced or intended to address the actual documentary synopsis. Technically speaking, cameras and equipment were set in the 2009 production to film interviews, establishing shots and inserts. In no way did we anticipate our findings and, regretfully, we were not properly equipped for shooting in wild remote areas and tropical forest environment.
The Livingston flying Fox roosting grounds are located further up in montane forest, which were then unreachable due to conditions and circumstances at the time. Most of the bat illustrations are of the smaller species (Rousettus obliviosus) found not far from, or sometimes within urban and rural inhabited area, with the exception of a few occasions where we were able to spot some juvenile Livingstone bats (Pteropus Livingstonii).
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE:
The purpose of this presentation is to galvanize the interest exhibited by stakeholders (both actual and potential) including researchers, academics, NGOs, grantmakers and financial institutions, broadcasters, educational institutions, and others. In the meantime, we have established this website to display our own research, findings, and intentions as well as the actions we intend to undertake toward making the project a reality.
We invite you to comment and contribute with your own knowledge and ideas about the subject in an effort to build a collaborative and coherent argumentation that will support and justify the production of this documentary project.
To all present and future contributors, a warm Thanks.