Table of Contents:

Asia

In Asia, hunting is known to affect 64 species, which represents the largest absolute number of hunted bat species in a region.

Southeast Asia. The hunting pressure on bats is greatest in Southeast Asia, where 56, or 17 % of the region's bat species are hunted (Table 12.1, Appendix). Bat hunting is widespread in 10 out of the 11 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam). Only in Singapore are bats not thought to be hunted heavily (Mildenstein 2012; IUCN 2014).

Table 12.1 Proportion of bats hunted by region (Calculated by total number of extant bats species hunted divided by the total number of bat species in the region)

Taxon

Region

Total#

On Red List

Not on list

Total hunted

%hunted

Chiroptera

1146

97

70

167

14.6

Caribbean islands

106

0

0

0

0.0

East Asia

130

3

4

7

5.4

Europe

42

0

0

0

0.0

Meso America

177

0

0

0

0.0

North Africa

41

3

1

4

9.8

North America

49

0

0

0

0.0

North Asia

43

0

0

0

0.0

Oceania

173

25

15

40

23.1

South America

249

0

8

8

3.2

South and Southeast Asia

365

43

20

63

17.3

SE

333

36

20

56

16.8

South

114

8

5

13

11.4

Sub-Saharan Africa

249

25

26

51

20.5

West and Central Asia

94

1

0

1

11

High levels of hunting occur in Indonesia, where there is a long history of bat consumption (Fujita 1988) and large numbers of individuals are still sold in markets (e.g. P. vampyrus, Harrison et al. 2011; Sulawesi fruit bat, Acerodon celebensis, gray flying fox, Pteropus griseus, black flying fox, Pteropus alecto, Heinrichs 2004). Hunting pressure is also high in the Philippines, with a third (24/75) of its species known to be hunted. Although Philippine bats are protected from hunting by the Philippine Wildlife Act and the Philippine Cave Management Act, these laws are not well enforced, and hunting for personal consumption and local trade is widespread.

In Malaysia, hunting of some species is regulated, which may curb some of the hunting pressure but has not reduced hunting rates to sustainable levels (Epstein et al. 2009). The laws and levels of enforcement are different for the different regions of Malaysia. All bats are legally protected in Sarawak, but this is not the case in Sabah and peninsular Malaysia. Illegal hunting still occurs in orchards and by sport hunters in Sarawak at places where enforcement is lacking. Legal protection for Old World frugivorous bats is reviewed by Abdul-Aziz et al. (2015).

In Buddhist countries (Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam), most roost sites of large fruit bats are found in the gardens around temples and monasteries because of the protection the monks provide (e.g. Ravon et al. 2014; T. Mildenstein unpublished data). Whether this degree of protection is sufficient to maintain stable populations of these species has yet to be investigated (Table 12.1, Appendix).

South Asia. In Bangladesh, large fruit bats are hunted for food by members of tribal groups (Mickleburgh et al. 2009). In India and Pakistan, bats are classified as vermin and are persecuted, although they are consumed infrequently, and more often killed for medicinal purposes (Noureen 2014). The exception is the Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus), which is eaten by indigenous forest-dwelling people (Mickleburgh et al. 2009). On the Andaman and Nicobar islands, black-eared flying fox (Pteropus melanotus) and P. faunulus are hunted and eaten on special occasions (Mickleburgh et al. 2009) (Table 12.1, Appendix).

North Asia. Bats are not specifically protected in China and many species are eaten, especially in southern China, where bats are found regularly in markets (Mickleburgh et al. 2009) (Table 12.1, Appendix). Requests from international agencies following the SARS outbreak, (which resulted in several hundred human deaths) that wildlife legislation be introduced in China prohibiting inter alia hunting and sale of bats have been ignored.

Pacific (Oceania)

Bats are often the only native mammals on remote Pacific Islands, and there is a long history of bat species being hunted in many of these areas. Bats are eaten on American Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, New Caledonia, Palau, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu (Chambers and Esrom 1991; Mickleburgh et al. 2009). In total, 40 bat species are affected, 23 % of Oceania's bats, making this the region with the highest proportion of hunted bat species on the planet. The value of bat meat is highly variable in Oceania. It is a sought-after delicacy on Guam and the Mariana Islands, where the bats are strictly protected by the United States' Endangered Species Act (USFWS 2009). In contrast, in the nearby Federated States of Micronesia, the same bat species are rarely eaten (Mickleburgh et al. 2009). In American Samoa, (another United States territory), bats were consumed regularly in the past (Brooke 2001) but are now highly protected. Bat meat is also a delicacy in the Cook Islands, Niue, and Raratonga (Brooke and Tshapka 2002) and is a popular food on Fiji, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu (Mickleburgh et al. 2009).

South America

Bat hunting is much less common in South America, occurring in highly localized areas and affecting eight species in the families Phyllostomidae (7 spp.) and Vespertilionidae (1 sp.) (Table 12.1, Appendix).

 
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