Hunting of flying foxes and perception of disease risk in Indonesian Borneo- New Publications
In an important paper in press in Biological Conservation (doi10.1016/jbiocon.2011.06.021), Harrison et al describe how questionnaire surveys of hunters and market vendors in Central Kalimantan revealed decreasing availability of flying foxes, from which it can be inferred that populations are declining. This trend looks likely to continue and Kalimantan, like other parts of the Old World tropics, will lose the ecological services that these bats provide. They are purchased for food and in the mistaken belief that their consumption relieves the symptoms of asthma .Hunters and vendors are frequently bitten and are unaware of the risks of contracting diseases from the bats.
This is the first publication from a series of recent research projects in the Old World tropics investigating hunters of bats and other bushmeat species and their vendors and how the supply chain operates. Another has been completed in Ghana with reference to Eidolon helvum and another nears completion in Madagascar. A study in Brazzaville in which I was involved appeared recently in two adjacent papers in the on-line journal Tropical Conservation Science (see Mbete et al 2011,4:187-202 &203-217). The surprising aspect of this study is the absence of bats from the comprehensive list of bushmeat consumed, despite direct evidence of bat consumption in Congo from others sources. So it looks as if the supply chain for bats differs from that for other kinds of bushmeat
Posted : 15 August 2011, Paul Racey