Hunting of flying foxes and perception of disease risk in Indonesian Borneo part - 3
Written by Paul Racey
In an important paper in press in Biological Conservation, Mark Harrison and colleagues 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.
Mark E. Harrison, Susan M Cheyne, Fiteria Darma, Dwi Angan Ribowo, Suwido H. Limin, Matthew J. Streubig (2011 - in press). Hunting of flying foxes and perception of disease risk in Indonesian Borneo. Biological Conservation.
Email M.J.Struebig@kent.ac.uk for a copy. Newspaper articles referred to in the paper have been translated by Sephy Noerfahmy and Matt Struebig for us, and we will be posting a revised copy of the questionnaire used by the team in the coming weeks.
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 by Robert Mbete and colleagues in the on-line journal Tropical Conservation Science (which you can download for free here ). 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.
Note from Tigga: Mark Harrison and his team have made revised versions of the questionnaires available - please see the attachments, and the notes that go with them. They are happy for people to use and adapt, but please be sure to cite them!