Livingstone’s Flying Fox
Because of their thermal sensitivity, Livingstone’s flying foxes roost near rivers and other humid environments, but the loss of forests has resulted in the drying of nearly all rivers on Anjouan and many on Mohéli.
Roost sites represent critical habitat for the Livingstone’s flying fox, yet tree felling has destroyed a number of roosts, leading to displacement of bats to less impacted areas, often at higher elevations.
Of 23 roosts occupied in 2007, three roosts have been abandoned due to clear felling of forest in the past five years, and only one new, but very small, roost of 15 bats has been uncovered despite extensive searching efforts. This new roost was found in a patch of degraded forest at 1,050 meters, the first to be found at such a high elevation, and is believed to have been established very recently.
On Anjouan, forest clearance, underplanting or significant soil erosion following deforestation upslope of the roost was found within 50 meters of all but one of the 16 occupied roosts. Further, the replacement of native forests with agricultural lands on Anjouan and Mohéli may render formerly inaccessible roost sites on Anjouan and Mohéli more accessible, possibly exposing roosts to increased levels of human disturbance. Finally, the loss of native forests has resulted in impermanence or complete drying of nearly all rivers on Anjouan and many on Mohéli. As Livingstone’s flying fox roosts are often associated with rivers and other humid environments, a factor which may be related to their thermal sensitivity, this loss of rivers may additionally affect the quality of roosting habitat.
• Image | © Aardwolf6886, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Daniel, et al., 2016; Granek, 2002, Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Sewall, et al., 2007, 2011; Trewhella, et al. 2005)