(Other Names: Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Zorro Volador de la Isla Rodrigues)
Status: Critically Endangered
1. Profile (Picture)
The Rodrigues flying fox is a 300 g (0.7 lb) fruit bat found in dry woodland. Various fruits make up its diet, with ripe tamarind pods being a favorite food. Feeding is largely nocturnal. The Rodrigues flying fox is colonial and gregarious. Some adult males establish small territories and defend harems of up to 8 females. Although the young can fly at 3 - 4 months, they remain with their mother for a year.
The Rodrigues flying fox occurs only on Rodrigues, an island in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It is threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and by periodic devastating cyclones. It has always been subject to cyclones, but deforestation removes trees which previously provided shelter during the cyclones.
*** In the early 1970's the Rodrigues flying fox was considered the rarest bat in the world. Subsequent protection and habitat restoration has resulted in a population increase.
*** Rodrigues flying foxes are poor fliers in moderate winds, and any bats torn off their perches by a cyclone would certainly be swept out to sea out of control (Cheke & Dahl 1981).
*** Flying foxes are so-called because of their fox-like faces. They cannot use echolocation. Instead, they navigate using vision and normal hearing.
The Rodrigues flying fox occurs only on Rodrigues, an island in the Republic of Mauritius in the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. It was formerly also found on the island of Mauritius. Rodrigues has an area of 110 sq km (42 sq mi) and is an isolated island 574 km (356 mi) east of Mauritius. In the early 1970's there were less than 100 of the Rodrigues flying fox remaining in the wild and it was considered the rarest bat in the world. Subsequent protection and reforestation, newly identified roosts, and the movement of bats into different areas (which allowed more accurate counts to be made) has resulted in a population estimate in 2002 of a minimum of 5000 individuals (Powell & Wehneit 2003). The population undergoes extreme fluctuations due to cyclones (IUCN 2004).
Habitat loss due to deforestation, mainly for harvesting firewood and clearing land for crops, and periodic devastating cyclones are the major threats to the Rodrigues flying fox . It has always been subject to cyclones, but deforestation removes trees which previously provided shelter during the cyclones.
AZA 1998b, Bonaccorso 1998, Cheke & Dahl 1981, Cons. Intl. 2005, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Mickleburgh 1992, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Oryx 1977f, Powell & Wehneit 2003, Racey 1979, Stebbings 1980, The Wild Ones/Wildlife Trust
Last modified: May 17, 2006;