Counting Mauritius Flying foxes : For the past three weeks staff from the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation have participated in the National Bat Count organised by the National Parks and Conservation Services (NPCS). Staff from the Forestry Service of Mauritius also participated. The objective of the count is to estimate the Mauritius Fruit Bat (Pteropus niger) population throughout Mauritius. Bats generally are active at night and during the day they roost in trees. Roosting sites have been identified by NPCS and bats are counted as they leave their day-time roosting trees in the late afternoon as the sun is setting. This method is called ‘Evening Dispersal count’ and is generally accepted as the best method to count bats. Another method is to count them visually while they are roosting in their tree but often bats will be missed as they are hidden by leaves. Another method, which is even less accurate, is ‘disturbance counts’, when bats are flushed out of their roosting trees and counted whilst in the air. Counting bats is not easy and getting an accurate count even more difficult. There are not enough trained persons to count bats simultaneously in Mauritius due to the size of the island and the large number of roosts (this is done by MWF in Rodrigues, where there are less roosts). We know that bats can fly from one end of the island to the other in one night and they don’t always return to the same roosting site which can affect the count. Knowing the approximate number of bats in Mauritius is very important following the cull of 2015 to be able to inform any discussion on a further cull in 2016. The Mauritius Fruit Bat is a vital part of the endemic ecosystem acting as a pollinator and disperser. If the numbers of bats is too low this function is drastically reduced and the bats are also very vulnerable if there is a major cyclone. If there aren’t many bats a cyclone could cause an extinction.