Monday, August 07, 2006

RODRIGUES FRUIT BATS - 100 left in the wild?

An article published by the North-West Evening Mail reports on improvements made at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton, UK which will get you up close and personal with Rodrigues Fruit Bats. The article implies that there are about 100 of these critically endangered animals left in the wild.

The park's aerial walkway has been extended to allow visitors to delve deep into the park's bat enclosure which houses 42 Rodrigues Fruit Bats including the young born last winter.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is one of 33 zoos safeguarding the species for the future, should disaster strike in the wild.

Karen Brewer, education and marketing manager at the park, said: “They are placid, you won’t have to watch your necks!

“It’s fascinating watching them hold their food and eat.

“It’s amazing to think that our group are just under half of what were left in the wild.”
Full story here. Here's the link to the park's own website - South Lakes Wild Animal Park - if you would like to plan a visit.

I visited my local colony of Rodrigues Fruit Bats just last year, at the Philadelphia Zoo. Here's a couple of Rodrigues Fruitbat features on the site - Worldwide Projects and Wildlife Matters Feature.

And while we're on the subject of Mega Bats....

Darren Naish, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth, has a recent in-depth post about the controversial theory which suggests that Megabats like the Rodrigues Fruitbat are NOT close relatives of the microbats at all, but that they're actually flying primates!
Mention ‘flying primate’ and most zoologists will think you’re referring to the well known, controversial theory of John Pettigrew of the University of Queensland. Initially basing his theory on retinotectal organization (viz, the way in which data from the retina is processed in the brain), Pettigrew (1986) argued that megabats (the group that includes fruit bats) are not close relatives of microbats (the mostly small, mostly insectivorous bats that mostly use echolocation), but that they’re actually flying primates, of a sort (read on)....

No comments: