Table of Contents:

South Asia

In India, all pteropodid species with the exception of the Critically Endangered Latidens salimalii are categorised as vermin and included as such in Schedule V of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Amended Acts. However, only three of the thirteen species—P. giganteus, R. leschenaultii and C. sphinx—feed extensively on commercial fruit, and the remaining ten species forage mainly in forest where they play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal, and there is no evidence that they visit commercial orchards. The Indian government has ignored successive attempts by conservationists to have forest bats delisted (Singaravelan et al. 2009).

In Bangladesh, the newly revised Wildlife Preservation and Security Act 2012 protects all species of bats. Hunting is prohibited without government permission and a licence, and offenders can face imprisonment and/or a fine (Act translated from Bengali by A. Islam, pers. comm.).

In Pakistan, P. giganteus is listed in the fourth schedule of the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act 1974, which specifically includes animals that have no legal protection and can be hunted.

In Sri Lanka, the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance 1937 (amended 2009) provides protection for all bat species in the country, and hunting is strictly prohibited. Bat roosts such as caves are not currently protected, but the Department of Wildlife Conservation is currently in discussion to protect such sites as refuges by law (W. Yapa, pers. comm.).

Thailand

In Thailand, all species of Pteropus (P. hypomelanus, P. intermedius, P. lylei, P. vampyrus), nectarivorous bats (E. spelaea, Macroglossus minimus and M. sobrinus) and Chironax melanocephalus are listed as 'protected animals' under the Wildlife Protection and Reservation Act 1992. Another 13 bat species found in Thailand, including all Cynopterus and Rousettus, are not protected. However, all animals are protected within designated areas, which include national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and religious establishments (temples, mosques).

Out of a population of 38,000 bats forming 16 colonies of P. lylei in central Thailand, 90 % (13 colonies) are found in temples (Boonkird and Wanghongsa 2004), and thus their roosting colonies are well protected. In contrast, most known colonies of P. vampyrus and P. hypomelanus are found outside protected areas and therefore suffer from hunting and roost disturbance, except for colonies on oceanic islands. Generally, due to cheaper prices and greater abundance of fruit crops in Thailand, along with smaller population sizes of flying foxes, Pteropus spp. are less likely to be regarded as crop pests. However, smaller fruit bats such as Cynopterus spp. and Rousettus spp. are common and are still regarded as pests. Hunting and selling of flying foxes is widely known to be illegal. Attempts should be made to protect roosting sites outside designated protected areas.

 
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