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The only native terrestrial mammals found on the remote Fiji Islands in the western Pacific Ocean are six species of bats – five of which are threatened with extinction. The Nakanacagi Cave is the only known maternity colony of the Fijian Free-tailed Bat, and it is the only known roost in all of Fiji. In fact, this single roost appears to represent over 95 percent of the species’ global population.
While it is clear that the cave is an important lifeline to the survival of the Fijian Free-tailed Bat, unfortunately it remains unprotected and at grave risk from habitat disturbance in and around the cave.
To ensure the future survival of the species and this vital breeding and roosting site, Rainforest Trust is working with National Trust of Fiji with the support of Bat Conservation International to purchase the properties where the cave system is located and its surrounding habitat to create Nakanacagi Cave Reserve.
Vanua Levu Island, Fiji
Key Species (Based on IUCN Red List)
Fijian Free-tailed Bat (EN)
Tropical dry forest, volcanic cave system
Hunting, deforestation, erosion
Establish the Nakanacagi Cave Reserve
National Trust of Fiji
Price per Acre
The Endangered Fijian Free-tail Bat relies on Nakanacagi Cave as its only known maternity colony worldwide.
The only other location where the bat has been recorded is in the south Pacific nation of Vanuatu. However, bat experts suspect the free-tail bats of Fiji might be a distinct species from those of Vanuatu due to their geographic isolation. Initial biodiversity assessments recorded at least 20 endemic plants in the proposed protected area. As the cave system is somewhat geographically removed from other caves in Fiji, there is a strong possibility of the presence of additional rare and endemic cave biodiversity.
Historically, local clans and community members hunted the bats for food.
However, over the past decade, successful outreach and education campaigns have convinced the Naua Clan members of Nakanacagi Village to stop hunting the bats – though without formal protection of the cave, these activities could resume. While successful outreach activities have curbed hunting for now, the Nakanacagi Cave and its surroundings are privately owned so there is a risk that the area could be sold for development and logging. The cave is also at risk from extensive erosion following deforestation. Past logging and burning has weakened the native forest and has made it susceptible to damage from extreme winds that accompany tropical cyclones.
There are no settlements within the proposed protected area. The indigenous Naua Clan resides in Nakanacagi Village, which is located approximately 1.8 miles away from Nakanacagi Cave.
This clan is the traditional custodian of the cave and the area surrounding it. Before the community outreach initiatives, the Fijian free-tailed Bat was considered to be a delicacy to them. The nearby Fijian-Indian community consists of prominent members of the Matasawalevu Cooperative, which was established in the 1970s to utilize the larger Matasawalevu area for cocoa cultivation. The cooperative has confirmed their willingness to sell the property that includes part of the Nakanacagi Cave system. It is vital for the broader community to understand the importance of conserving regional biodiversity, and Rainforest Trust’s local partner is working to engage these communities as supportive neighbors to the protected area.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
Rainforest Trust is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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