Exploitation of Bats for Bushmeat and Medicine

Fig. 12.4 Citizen science support enabled the first population count of Mariana fruit bats on Andersen Air Force, Guam in nearly a decade. (Survey participants are showing the number of bats they counted on their raised fingers) (credit SSgt. M. White)


Bat hunting for consumption as bushmeat and medicine is widespread and affects at least 167 species of bats (or c. 13% of the world’s bat species), in Africa, Asia, across the islands of Oceania, and to a lesser extent in Central and South America. Hunting is particularly prevalent among the large-bodied fruit bats of the Old World tropics, where half (50%, 92/183) the extant species in the family Pteropodidae are hunted. Pteropodids that are hunted are six times more likely to be Red Listed as threatened: 66% of species in IUCN threatened categories (CR, EN, VU, NT), compared to 11% of species in the ‘Least Concern’ (LC) category. However, there still appears to be an information gap at the international level. One third of the hunted species on the Red List are not considered threatened by that hunting, and nearly a quarter of the bat species included in this review are not listed as hunted in IUCN Red List species accounts. This review has resulted in a comprehensive list of hunted bats that doubles the number of species known from either the IUCN Red List species accounts or a questionnaire circulated in 2004. More research is needed on the impacts of unregulated hunting, as well as on the sustainability of regulated hunting programs. In the absence of population size and growth data, legislators and managers should be precautionary in their attitude towards hunting. Roost site protection should be a priority as it is both logistically simpler than patrolling bat foraging grounds and reduces the comparatively larger scale mortality and stress that hunting at the roost can cause. Education and awareness campaigns within local communities should demonstrate how bats are a limited resource and emphasize characteristics (nocturnal, slow reproducing and colonial) that make them particularly vulnerable to hunting pressure.

Fig. 12.5 Members of the women's peanut cooperative in Madagascar, which grows peanuts to supplement local protein supplies and uses a portion of the proceeds to pay rangers to protect fruit bat roosts (Razafimanahaka 2013)


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Megabats and Microbats: Exploitation of Bats for Bushmeat and Medicine
Exploitation of Bats for Bushmeat and Medicine
Exploitation of Bats for Bushmeat and Medicine
Megabats and Microbats
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