Media & Education
BATS Magazine

Volume 39, Issue 1, 2020

Safe Haven

Strategic land acquisition completes sanctuary for endangered Fijian free-tailed bat


To reach Fiji’s Nakanacagi Cave, BCI team members must fly to Fiji’s main island, hop a plane to the small island of Vanua Levu and then trek to the cave entrance. BCI team members have made this arduous journey about twice a year for the last several years with an important goal in mind: They were working to strategically acquire 22 hectares of land to create a sanctuary for the endangered Fijian free-tailed bat (Chaerophon bregullae).

In October 2019, BCI, in partnership with the Rainforest Trust and the National Trust of Fiji, finalized the acquisition of the remaining parcel of land to ensure long-term protection of the 22-hectare sanctuary. Nakanacagi Cave is the only known maternity colony roost of the Fijian free-tailed bat, and it is the only known roost in all of Fiji. In fact, with an estimated population of 5,000 bats using the cave, this single roost appears to represent more than 95% of the species’ global population.

On the team’s last visit, they also received permission from the village chief to enter the cave and use cutting-edge LiDAR technology to create 3D images of the cave, and to assess how to carry out the complicated process of removing aging metal pipes that run through it. BCI will continue to work with project partners, including the National Trust of Fiji, Nature Fiji, and members of the Fijian Bat Conservation Initiative and Rainforest Trust, to preserve the cave and sanctuary.

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