Feeds

Huge 'vampyrus' bats being hunted to extinction

Tagged aerial scrumper study: Batshit crisis looming

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.