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Christmas Island Habitat Health

The Christmas Island Flying-fox (Pteropus natalis melanotis) is a species of high conservation concern – it is the last remaining indigenous mammal on Christmas Island, its population has declined by about 75% since the mid-1980s and it is a keystone species due to its role in pollination and seed dispersal. Its extinction would have catastrophic ecological implications.  This project will fill crucial knowledge gaps about the fundamental ecology, nutrition and resource utilisation of the species and identify the environmental and health factors leading to its decline.  It will also facilitate a Population and Habitat Viability Assessment of the population trajectory under varied environmental conditions and management actions and inform strategic directions of Parks Australia, including recovery decisions (e.g. captive breeding) and appropriate options for threat mitigation as outlined in the Christmas Island National Park Management Plan 2014-2024.

Project partners:

Taronga: Dr Karrie Rose, Jane Hall
Christmas Island National Park: Michael Misso, Sam Flakus, Judy West
University of Western Sydney: Dr Justin Welbergen  
University of Sydney: Prof David Raubenheimer


Vidgen ME, de Jong C, Rose K, Hall J, Field HE, Smith CS. 2015 Novel paramyxoviruses in Australian flying-fox populations support host-virus coevolution. J Gen Virol. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.000099

Hall J, Rose K, Smith C, De Jong C, Phalen D, Austen J, Field H. 2014. Health assessment of the Christmas Island flying fox (Pteropus melanotus natalis). J Wildl Dis. 50(3):447-58.

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