Madagascan villagers join race to protect flying fox

Villages in the Malagasy region of Madagascar are working with conservationists to safeguard the future of eight colonies of threatened bat.

Roosts of the Madagascan Flying fox (Pteropus rufus) are under threat from hunters, farmers and forest fires.

The Madagascan Flying fox (Pteropus rufus) is a species listed as Vulnerable by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and is subject to intense hunting pressure for use in food and traditional medicine. Occupying small fragments of forest during the day, their roosts and feeding areas are also threatened by habitat destruction including forest fires.

A community-based project is being funding by the IUCN Sir Peter Scott Fund for Conservation Action and donor Fondation Ensemble, staffed by local conservation group Madagasikara Voakajy.

In addition to the successful creation of ‘conservation management committees’ in four of Malagasy’s villages, three other communities have taken part in talks on protecting the flying fox and its ever decreasing habitat.

These discussions have led village leaders to request protected zones for the bats, a positive step in realizing the future survival of this species.

Later this year, a team of Malagasy fruit bat specialists will return to the villages, assessing the progress of the conservation committees and conducting a further awareness-raising programme.

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