Flying fox in Vanuatu

The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) through the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) is continuously receiving concerns that people are killing birds and flying foxes in the islands affected by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Harold.

The reports stated the killings were either for food or enjoyment of killing these species with sling shots in the TC Harold affected islands. 

The Director General of MoCC, Esline Garaebiti advised that the National Disaster Committee (NDC) had already endorsed the decision that killing of birds and flying foxes is prohibited in all affected islands.

In her letter to the provincial and community leaders in the affected islands and provinces regarding this matter, DG Garaebiti emphasised that forests and trees serve as the ecosystems for shelter and food for the birds and flying foxes and have been severely damaged by TC Harold and it’s the same as it affected our food gardens and our houses as our shelter. 

“With this impact, flying foxes and birds will find it hard to find food as well as shelter for them to live in, which is why we see them on the ground or on fallen trees/plants searching for food,” she said.

“They are very vulnerable at this time, so we should sympathize with them and care for them instead of taking advantage of the situation they are in, by killing them, as we all depend on each other in one way or another.

Environmental disturbances such as TC Harold and the humans’ killings of these species will continue to decrease these species diversity and can lead to the loss of their functions in the remaining habitats.

“I am humbly and respectfully asking our northern citizens affected by TC Harold to stop killing these animals as we all depend on each other and thank you for respecting our nature and environment,” she said.