Three Flying Fox (Pteropodidae: Pteropus Rufus) Roosts, Three Conservation Challenges in South-Eastern Madagascar

"We visited three roosts of the Madagascar flying fox Pteropus rufus in December 2005 in the Anosy Region. Colony size was 900 at Berenty Private Reserve, 412 at Amborabao and 54 at Sainte Luce, based on single counts at each site. Hunting at the roost is prohibited at Berenty but P. rufus is trapped at night in the area surrounding the reserve, where it feeds on sisal. At Amborabao, the bats roost in a sacred forest and hunting is forbidden. At Sainte Luce, the forest is highly degraded and the bats are hunted frequently, despite efforts to engage the local community in for- est conservation. Questionnaires with people living near the roosts revealed the flying foxes were regarded as pests of litchis in Amborabao and Sainte Luce. Berenty is the only site where tourists are able to observe roosting P. rufus. The role of sacred forests and local taboos (fady) is very relevant for P. rufus conservation and might be the only practical mechanism in sites where legislation on hunting and land use is not being enforced."
animal behavior, conservation