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Dec 6, 2012

The Island Bat Roost

The Recycled Roost

The Livingstone’s fruit bat is one of the largest and rarest bats in the world, restricted to two small islands in the Union de Comoros in the Western Indian Ocean. Found primarily in forests above 200m, this species is threatened due to increasing human encroachment on its roost sites and deforestation of its foraging habitat.

Due to the poor prognosis for the continued survival of the species in the wild, 20 bats were captured by Durrell and Action Comores International between 1990 and 1995 to start a ‘safety-net’ population at Durrell Wildlife Park.

These large bats have been slow to breed in captivity and are prone to injury and obesity if kept in an enclosure with insufficient space. This project therefore aimed to provide for all their needs in a tropical environment that we could maintain within parameters that were safe for the species.

The enclosure also had to embody an environmental message so it was designed to be passively solar heated as much as possible, significantly reducing heating bills, with back-up heat provided by a waste wood burner in the winter. The materials and construction were as environmentally friendly as possible in terms of carbon emissions and resource impact on the wider environment. Community involvement was also central, with over 400 volunteers involved in construction.

Overall the building has delivered on its goals, creating a safe, spacious environment for the animals, and along with a sustainable message has had a very strong, positive impact on visitors’ perceptions of bats.


Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

WINNER of Biaza Awards 2012 for Best New Zoo Enclosure

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Collaborative research by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Bristol Zoological Society and the Comorian NGO Dahari has revealed the Livingstone’s fruit bat is likely to be the most endangered fruit bat in the world. 


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