A group of granitic islands laid across the Indian Ocean is the home of 12 EDGE species and have been recognized as an EDGE zone. This group of islands is the Seychelles islands and that is where I was born and raised.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Diana Renaud and I work as a Conservation officer for the Ministry of Environment and Energy in the Seychelles. I started working for the Ministry in 2012 and upon the first few months of my employment I had the opportunity to meet Mrs Rachel Bristol who also had just started working for Darwin Initiative as a project officer. It was through Rachel that I got introduced to the EDGE programme.
Though the Seychelles Island is very rich in biodiversity bats are the only native terrestrial mammals that we possess. We have three endemic species that are the Seychelles fruit bat Pteropus seychellensis seychellensis found in granitic Seychelles and considered as vulnerable, the Aldabran Chaerephon pusilla which is listed as vulnerable and the Seychelles Sheath-tailed bat (Coleura seychellensis) found on Mahe and Silhouette.
Rank number 26 on the EDGE species list, the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat is one of the most critically endangered species in the wild according to the IUCN red list with a population of less than 100. Seychelles have had many good successes with bird recovery programme and we wanted to try it with our only native mammal.
My fellowship is all about improving the status of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat and developing an effective long term conservation programme that will not only monitor the species population but also protect the species itself from threats such as human development for tourism and residential purposes.
The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat is a very small mammal that weights around 10- 12g and which feeds on insects mainly in the Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Diptera order. They prefer roosting in caves and boulders and are nocturnal mammals unlike the Seychelles fruit bat. Amongst the local people that knows about it existence, it is refer to as ‘Sousouri bannan’.
With all the support I can get, I hope to teach the young generation about our only native mammal and why we should protect it.