Feeds

Huge 'vampyrus' bats being hunted to extinction

Tagged aerial scrumper study: Batshit crisis looming

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Scientists say that the world's largest bat, the six-foot Pteropus vampyrus, is threatened with extinction at the hands of bat hunters across the Far East. They have called for fewer bat-hunting permits to be issued by local governments.

Despite the name, P vampyrus is not a blood-drinking bat like some South American species, and isn't even carnivorous. It mainly lives on fruit, and is also known as a "flying fox". Fruitbat meat is considered a tasty treat by many in southeast Asia, and some also believe that it cures asthma.

P vampyrus is thus hunted, typically using shotguns, for food, medicinal purposes and just for sport. Fruit farmers also kill the winged scrumpers to stop them eating crops.

Dr Jonathan Epstein of the Wildlife Trust and his colleagues have now carried out a four-year study of P vampyrus in Malaysia. This involved carrying out a regular census at popular bat roosting sites, and also the tagging-up of seven selected bats with convict-style satellite tracking devices.

The batty boffins also considered the numbers of bat-hunting licences issued by the Malaysian government each year during the study. All Malaysian states except Sarawak in Borneo allow vampyrus hunting, as do other nearby nations such as Indonesia. Some 22,000 vampyrus death-warrants are issued each year just in peninsular Malaysia.

"Our models suggest that hunting activity over the period between 2002 and 2005 in Peninsular Malaysia is not sustainable, and that local populations of Pteropus vampyrus are vulnerable to extinction," says Epstein.

According to the doc, disappearance of the big bats would also have negative effects on the region's rainforests as they distribute seeds through the medium of batshit.

"They are critical to the propagation of rainforest plants," he told the BBC.

Epstein and his colleagues say that at least a temporary ban on bat-shooting should be considered, and that all the countries where they live should cooperate on protecting them.

The scientists' research is published in detail in the Journal of Applied Ecology. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?