On the western side of New Caledonia, there lies a home to 5 near-endemic species of mammals and 23 near-endemic species of birds of the tropical dry forest. The trees of tropical dry forest used to cover most of the lowlands of New Caledonia but have been reduced to small patches that cover less than 2% of its original area (World Wildlife Fund 2013). These small patches are home to this small group of vertebrates. New Caledonia has various species of mammals and birds, 90% of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Coincidently, mammals are the most endangered of becoming extinct with an IUCN classification of vulnerable or higher. Of the birds, only two have a status of vulnerable or higher but most are of near threatened or lower. Therefore, it is important that these areas be conserved so these rare mammals and bird species will continue to exist.
Ornate Flying Fox Pteropus ornatus
The Ornate Flying Fox is part of the species of megabat in the family Pteropodidae and is endemic to New Caledonia. The bats are found on the islands of Lifou, Maré, and New Caledonia (Flannery 1995). They create roosts (nests) in the upper dense trees of tropical dry forest on slopes and gather there in large numbers. They are strongly tied to their roosts and only forage (gather food) at night (Brescia 2007). These Ornate Flying Fox are interesting because they breed their second year and females only give birth once. Their IUCN classification is vulnerable, which has caused many steps to be taken for their conservation such as legislation on restricting trade hunting of these fruit bats and having their habitats deemed as protected areas.
Courtesy of Scienceblogs.com
New Caledonia Wattled Bat Chalinolobus neocaledonicus
The New Caledonia Wattled Bat is a species of vesper bat in the family Vespertilionidae, endemic to New Caledonia, and has an IUCN classification of endangered. Interestingly, the roosts of these bats are only found in three towns: Hienghène (North Province), Païta and Sarraméa (South Province)(Flannery 1995; Simmons 2005). Not much information about the natural history of these species is known and therefore, unfortunately, no conservation legislation or declaration of protected areas for their habitats can be made.
Courtesy of australiananimallearningzone.com
New CaledoniaN Flying Fox Pteropus vetulus
The New Caledonia Flying Fox is a species of megabat also in the family Pteropodidae, endemic to New Caledonia, and has an IUCN classication of vulnerable. Not much information is known about the natural history of this bat as they are rarely observed and there are few known roosts sites in which they settle. The only known information is that they gather near entrances of caves or in hollow trees and are nocturnal hunters (Flannery 1995; Boissenin and Brescia 2007). Conservation legislation limits hunting to only being domestic.
Courtesy of guardian.co.uk
New Caledonian Long-Eared Bat Nyctophilus nebulosus
The last endemic mammal of New Caledonia is its Long-eared Bat, which is part of the vesper bat species of the family Vespertilionidae, and has an IUCN classification of critically endangered. It has only been recorded in one place and that is Mount Koghis of New Caledonia. There is little information known about this species as there has only been a few specimen sightings only collected at dusk (Flannery 1995; Parnaby 2002). Since little is known about this species, more research needs to be done to find its distribution, habitat, and population. However, it is considered critically endangered because of its only known place to reside is susceptible to human encroachment and wild fires.
Photo Credit: Pavel German
Long-tailed Fruit Bat [Fijian Blossom Bat] Notopteris macdonaldi
This last species of bats is of megabat species in the family Pteropodidae, not endemic to New Caledonia, and has an IUCN classification of vulnerable. This species originated in Fiji and found its way to New Caledonia by the Polynesian people (Koopman and Steadman 1995). There is no known distribution of the bats but it is expected that more than half globally reside in Fiji (Palmeirim et al. 2008). These bats are protected by local wildlife laws.