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New arrivals ‘hang out’ in our Rainforest House

Date: 17 Apr 2018

Rodrigues fruit bats

This international bat appreciation day we are celebrating the recent arrival of nine critically endangered Rodrigues fruit bats from Chester Zoo.

These bats have formed a bachelor colony, in our Rainforest House, as part of the breeding programme. 

Rodrigues fruit bats are also known as Rodrigues flying foxes, due to their fox-like facial features. Rodrigues fruit bats are extinct on Mauritius and Round Island and are now only found on the western Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues (off the coast of Madagascar).

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, explains the importance of our work with this species “Out of the 1,100 species of bats worldwide, the Rodrigues fruit bat was, until recently, one of the most endangered. This species was first brought into captivity due to concerns for their future survival. There are currently between 2000 and 4000 bats left on Rodrigues but at one point there were as few as 70 individuals on the island. The biggest cause of their decline is the destruction of their habitat. However, they are also effected by the impact of natural disasters. In fact, tropical cyclones can cause mortalities of over 50%, causing catastrophic damage to the population. We are delighted to support the collaborative efforts of zoos around the world in ensuring the survival of such a beautiful species.”

Our Rodrigues fruit bats are found in the Rainforest House, where they share their humid home with a number of exotic bird species. Fly by this weekend to see our new arrivals!

If your little ones are ‘batty about bats’, then join the NI Bat Group’s Young Bat Workers’ Club that meets every second Wednesday of the month (October to April).