Saving Comoros islands bats

This video is called Feeding time for the Livingstone’s fruit bats.

From Wildlife Extra:

Biggest ever survey of one of the world’s most endangered bats gets underway on Comoros Islands

There are less than 1000 Livingstone’s fruit bats left alive

Counting the cost of habitat loss

July 2012. A major new effort is underway to survey one of the world’s most endangered bat species on the brink of extinction. Field biologists and researchers from Bristol Zoo Gardens and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell) have joined forces to monitor the roost sites of Livingstone’s fruit bats as it is feared that the rapid clearance of the bats’ forest habitat is increasing the chances of the species being lost forever.

Less than 1000 giant red-eyed bats alive

There are thought to be less than 1,000 of these giant, red-eyed bats left in the wild on their native islands of Anjouan and Moheli – in the Comoros archipelago, off the south-east coast of Africa. Now the teams are carrying out the most thorough count of the species ever done, in a bid to assess the current population status and identify threats to the species’ survival.

With help from local experts, the teams will traverse the bats’ entire range, scaling mountains and travelling to the most inaccessible areas of the islands, to count bats in all their known treetop roost sites. The two organisations are partners in a conservation project working with local communities to protect the forest areas which are vital to the bats’ survival.

Neil Maddison, Head of Conservation Programmes at Bristol Zoo Gardens, explains the importance of monitoring the bats in the wild: “These surveys are key to conserving these magnificent bats, and while they have been done some years ago, they have never been done with this level of intensity.”

Free online tool helps identify bat calls: here.

The Anjouan scops owl—an elusive owl found only on its tiny eponymous island—was once considered among the world’s most endangered owls, and even the most threatened birds. However, the first in-depth survey of the owls on the island finds that, in fact, the population is far larger than initially estimated. In a new paper in Bird Conservation International, scientists estimate that 3,500-5,500 owls survive today as opposed to an earlier estimate of just 200-400 birds. – See more here.

New bat species discovered in Comoros

The new Comoros bat species

From DPA news agency:

Scientists discover new tiny bat species in Comoros

Posted : Thu, 25 Jun 2009 13:53:43 GMT

Geneva – Scientists have discovered a small new bat species weighing just 5 grams on the Comoros island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the Natural History Museum in Geneva said. Manuel Ruedi, from the Geneva museum and one of the lead scientists involved in the discovery, said that while they had found the new species it was already on its way to being on an endangered list.

“Forest bats are endangered by deforestation, and in particular this one also,” explained Ruedi in a telephone interview.

The new species was named Miniopterus aelleni, in tribute to the late Villy Aellen, a former director of the museum and an expert on bats.

The bat is thought to originate from the island of Madagascar, off the African coast.

The discovery began in 2006, when a team of Australian, Madagascan, Swiss and United States scientists headed to Comoros to research bats. Upon discovering what appeared to be something new, a series of genetic and other tests were conducted.

Just recently their work was recognized and they were able to announced late Wednesday that the tiny bat was indeed a “new species, unknown until now,” said Ruedi.

Comoros, together with Swiss institutions and conservation groups, will be taking an initiative to educate school children about bats and their importance to the ecosystem and biodiversity.

Ruedi noted that in places where malaria is present, such as the Indian Ocean island, bats eat insects and thereby help prevent the spread of the disease.

It was “sad,” he said, that the newly discovered species was immediately placed in protection for fears of its extinction.

The research on bats off the African coast would go on.

“We need to know more about where and which species exist and what significance they have for local human population,” Ruedi said.

The Geneva museum noted that since 2000 about 10 new species of mammals are discovered each year, indicating that there was “still much to discover about the biodiversity that surrounds us.”

More photos are here. And here.

See also here.

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