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News Room

Volume 0, Issue 1, Winter 1983

Thailand Bat Study Funded


The Animal Research and Conservation Center of the New York Zoological Society recently funded our proposal to support Surapon Duangkhae in his thesis study of the endangered Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat(Craseonycteris thonglongyai), the world's smalle st mammal. Surapon received field training during the 1981 BCI survey of endangered Thai bats and now wants to help. He is an exceptionally talented student, and this timely support of his graduate education may prove invaluable to the future of rapidly declining bats in Thailand. (For more information, read Dr. Merlin Tuttle's article in the January, 1984 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine.)

This young man is one of 10 poachers who kill more than 10,000 Large fruit bats monthly from Khao Chong Pran Cave, Thailand. An estimated 6,000 smaller bats and many predatory birds are simply killed to facilitate removal from nets. Guano mined from this cave earns roughly $53,000 (U.S.) annually in support of a local monastery and school, but profits have dropped by some 50% over the last five years due to the declining bat population. Many of the bats being killed are also the primary pollinators for economically important Durian fruits. Market hunters are decimating bat populations in many parts of the Old World tropics.

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