Tag Archives: Pemba Flying Fox

Overwhelming interest…

Bat in Flight- Credit E Bowen Jones, FFI

Bat in flight- Credit E.Bowen Jones-FFI

Ever since we released the media update, we have received lots of interest from people all over the world. It was very useful as it created awareness on the bat and conservation work on the Island. As shown is some of the media coverage received

Compilation of Pemba flying fox media coverage

National Geographic News  October 30 2008 Online Full page web story

Bloomberg  October 30 2008 Online Full page web story

Scientific American  October 30 2008 Online Small web story

World News Network October 31 2008 Online Full page web story

Edmonton Jornal (Canada)  October 31 2008 Online Full page web story

SkyNews online  October 31 2008 Online Full page web story

BBC Radio 4 Today show  October 31 2008 Radio 10 second brief

Reuters October 31 2008 Online Small web story

TVNZ  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Tiscali  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Independent (South Africa)  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Reuters Japan  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Reuters China  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

PlanetARK  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

News24 October 31 2008 Online Small web story

The Globe and Mail  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Canda.com October 31 2008 Online Small web story

The US Daily October 31 2008 Online Small web story

STV No October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Javno (Croatia) October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Ecoworldly October 31 2008 Online Small web story

Daily Express October 31 2008 Print – pg 18 Small item

Cambridge Evening News  October 31 2008 Print – pg14 3/4 page, large photo

BBC World Service  October 31 2008 Radio Short news story

MSNBC (USA)  October 31 2008 Online Small web story

ITV Anglia News  October 31 2008 TV Short story

Discovery Channel (Canada)  October 31 2008 TV

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire October 31 2008 Radio Short news story

BBC Online  October 31 2008 Online The Big Picture

A South African filming crew that produces programmes for the German National Broadcaster, is interested in filming the bats and some people on the Island. It would be great for the Island. We hope we can manage to do this and we will be sure to post a clip on the blog!

We are also looking into forming a forum for bat monitoring covering the Western Indian Ocean. We would like all bat lovers and people directly involved in bat monitoring within this region to join us. Please email us on [email protected]

We are attending a fruit bat workshop in Mauritius next week. All the bat people in the region and beyond will be attending. We look forward to that and will provide a short update on it!

Thank you for reading!

Night Flight of the Pemba Flying Fox

Being nocturnal, darkly-coloured and fast fliers, bats are notoriously difficult to count! The trees here on Pemba are large and thick in foliage which also makes counting a hard task. Because of the difficulties in counting the flying fox roosts, last week we decided to test some different methods of counting. We will be comparing the numbers we get from the evening dispersal counts with our patch count estimates to get an idea of whether there are any major over or under representations in the methods.

Evening dispersal counts are conducted at night as the bats leave the roost to forage. The teams take up positions around the roost with good view of the dispersing bats and wait for them to take flight. Yesterday we were in the South of the island watching a roost of approximately 1500 Pemba Flying Foxes. As it started to get dark and the sky was turning red, the animals started waking up. During the day they are often still and inactive, and because of their rusty coloured fur and black wings wrapped around them, they look almost like dead leaves or seeds hanging from the trees. This evening they really came to life and became quite animated and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. They started stretching their wings, scratching, and the occasional friendly squabble would break out amongst the odd individuals. A few individuals started flying in circles around the roost – perhaps testing the conditions or communicating with the others. However as soon as the sun had set, they took flight, as if on a serious mission. They fly powerfully and fast, and within about 20 minutes, they had nearly all gone apart from the last dots in the sky. What a wonderful experience!

Bats take-off after sensing danger


Photo C. Farese

Counting Flying Foxes!By Janine Robinson

First I want to say how happy I am to be working with these wonderful animals, and in such a beautiful place! The first time I saw flying foxes was in a forest in Northern Madagascar – they completely enchanted me and I remember thinking how much I would love to work with them in the future! And here I am. Counting all the Flying Fox roosts on the island is no easy task I can assure you! The flying foxes don’t always stay in the same roost, but regularly shift between sites and move according to season. The bats also roost on steep ridge tops, in thick forest, in mangroves, and on some of the small islets surrounding Pemba. It’s hard to predict when they are going to move – so we have to try and cover as much of the island as quickly as possible, to minimize the chance of double counting some of the bats or missing them completely. Without radio tagging these animals, much of their movements remain a mystery. The infrastructure is basic on Pemba Island, so some of these sites take a long time to reach by car, driving slowly to avoid the pot-holes and hoping it doesn’t rain and turn the whole road into a mud slick!

 Pemba Flying Fox in flight


Photo J. Robinson

As part of this project we are not only completing a comprehensive survey to get a recent population estimate and mapping the distribution of the Pemba Flying Fox, but we are also spending time talking with the community, to try and gage their feelings and attitudes towards the Pemba Flying Foxes. As flying foxes eat fruit, seeds and nectar there is potential for them to be viewed as pests by the local people – for damaging their fruit crops. Although so far the opinions are mixed, many people here seem to appreciate the role of the Pemba Flying Fox as a primary seed disperser, and they are often proudly referred to by the local people as ‘tree planters’. In many places the conservation education the DCCFF have been working on over the years appears to have been very effective in increasing understanding of the importance of these animals to this special island.