Community conservation of Solomon Islands endemic mammals

Timeframe: 2016 // 2017 - 2019
Country/Region: Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
Partner: Australian Museum Research Institute

The Solomon Islands archipelago has a unique fauna and flora and the region’s largest native mammals are giant rats and monkey-faced bats, all considered to be endangered or critically endangered. All giant rats and monkey-faced bats are endemic to primary rainforest, and all evolved in the absence of mammalian predators. For these reasons, the most severe threats to these species are logging and predation by feral cats. Historical and archaeological evidence indicate that some species of giant rats, and some populations of monkey-faced bats, are already extinct. This project implemented by Australian Museum Research Institute aims at preventing such further extinctions through two main objectives

  • The establishment of community conservation programs in regions where giant rats and monkey-faced bats are known to survive, and where community interest in preserving biodiversity exists. This will lead to the definition of conservation areas which will be protected from logging, and in which feral cats will be monitored using camera traps and removed using traditional methods.
  • The implementation of surveys of surviving populations of giant rats and monkey-faced bats in three other regions providing a snapshot of the status of all known species.

At the beginning of 2018, three conservation areas and programmes for three species of Giant Rats and three species of monkey-faced bats were in the process of being established.