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Three flying fox (Pteropodidae: Pteropus rufus) roosts, three conservation challenges in southeastern Madagascar

Author(s): Volana N. Rahaingodrahety | Daudet Andriafidison | Jonah H. Ratsimbazafy | Richard K.B. Jenkins

Journal: Madagascar Conservation & Development
ISSN 1662-2510

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 17;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Madagascar | Pteropus rufus | roost | Tolagnaro

We visited three roosts of the Madagascar flying fox Pteropusrufus in December 2005 in the Anosy Region. Colony size was 900at Berenty Private Reserve, 412 at Amborabao and 54 at SainteLuce, based on single counts at each site. Hunting at the roost isprohibited at Berenty but P. rufus is trapped at night in the areasurrounding the reserve, where it feeds on sisal. At Amborabao,the bats roost in a sacred forest and hunting is forbidden. AtSainte Luce, the forest is highly degraded and the bats are huntedfrequently, despite efforts to engage the local community in forestconservation. Questionnaires with people living near theroosts revealed the flying foxes were regarded as pests of litchisin Amborabao and Sainte Luce. Berenty is the only site wheretourists are able to observe roosting P. rufus. The role of sacredforests and local taboos (fady) is very relevant for P. rufus conservation and might be the only practical mechanism in sites wherelegislation on hunting and land use is not being enforced.
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