EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Bat Report II: Fruit Bats & Flying Foxes

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bat Report II: Fruit Bats & Flying Foxes

Bat Report II:

Fruit Bats & Flying Foxes

by Heather of thebluewindmill

Fruit bats (Family Pteropodidae) live in dense forests in Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. There are about 166 species that are fruit bats in a bat family of over 900 species. Fruit bats are sometimes referred to as flying foxes. They live in huge colonies, known as ‘camps’ and these nocturnal animals are most active at night & rest during the day while hanging upside down from their feet.

“Fruit bats mostly eat fruit juice and flower nectar. They chew the fruit, then spit out the seeds, peel, and pulp. Fruit bats, like other Megachiropteran bats, use the sense of smell to find their food, fruit and/or nectar [rather than echolocation]. Although they have large eyes and can see well, fruit bats do not use sight as their primary sense" enchantedlearning.com

Photo courtesy of S. Heinrichs

Flying Fox Conservation Fund

Flying Fox Conservation Fund is a non-profit organization founded by Scott Heinrichs. He started the Flying Fox Conservation Fund in 1996 and here is what inspired his decision: “While I was conducting a market survey on the island of Sulawesi. I came across a crate of live and dead flying foxes. In the crate was a rare species Gray's flying fox. On the island of Sulawesi this particular bat species is poorly documented. I decided to purchase the bat, to collect data, photograph and then release. When the vendor removed the bat, I could see a very young and very scared Black flying fox peering from behind an adult. Knowing the fate of that bat and so many more, I decided instead of being witness to their demise, I would be their voice.”

The fund is dedicated to the protection of “fruit bats and their habitat through conservation, education and research”. Their “goal is to save Old World fruit bat populations and their habitat with a non confrontational approach to reach solutions which benefits bats, peoples and ecosystems”; and they believe that “education is the greatest tool one can use to conserve fruit bat populations from decline. Teaching governments, forestry, wildlife personnel and the public the benefits of bats. Help them understand how fruit bats impact their daily lives.”

Photo courtesy of S. Heinrichs

Flying Fox Conservation Fund

Reasons to save Fruit Bats

"Fruit bats play a vital role in the ecology of the rain forests where they live. Old world fruit bats eat the fruit, nectar or flowers of more than 300 plant species and these plants rely on the bats for seed dispersal and pollination. Unlike birds, bats disperse seeds far away from the parent tree by eating them and depositing the seeds in their droppings. In fact, Seeds dropped by bats can account for up to 95 percent of forest regrowth on cleared land. Performing this essential role puts these bats among the most important seed-dispersing animals of both the Old and New World."

"Bats are particularly important on islands where they are often the only flying animals big enough to transport larger seeds. Fruit bats have been shown to be the sole pollinator of the Baobab tree in Africa, this tree is important to so many other wildlife it is called the "Tree of Life".

"Small fruit bats such as the Dawn bat are important pollinators of many important agricultural plants like durian, mangoes, cashew, figs, balsa, dates, kapok and others. Some plants, like the durian of south East Asia, produce white flowers that only open at night and drop off the tree by morning, these flowers are especially designed to be pollinated by fruit bats."

“So, any decline to fruit bat populations will have a wider reaching consequence than just the loss of a species. If the fruit bats disappear, the rainforest where they live will not survive, [and] as a result many of the animals which depend on the rainforest will disappear as well. Economies of tropical countries highly rely on over 134 fruits and other products which are bat pollinated, without fruit bats their economies will suffer as a result."

“Last but not least, the major reason for protecting fruit bats is that they are beautiful, gentle, intelligent living creatures that deserve to live.”

Photo courtesy of S. Heinrichs

Flying Fox Conservation Fund

Flying Fox Conservation Fund is working towards opening a fruit bat rescue, rehabilitation, captive breeding, and research center on the island of Sulawesi. This center will be the first of its kind in all of Indonesia. The facility will help the Sulawesi wildlife personnel place fruit bats rescued from markets for later release, the center will be used to educate local people about the beneficial role bats play in their everyday lives. Flying Fox Conservation Fund will start a captive breeding program for threatened and endangered fruit bats. The center will be used by researchers and students to study fruit bats in captivity. Also if there is a need, our facility will be a sanctuary for Sulawesi's other endangered wildlife.”

On Oct. 21, 2010, Scott Heindrichs reported that the Flying Fox Conservation Fund recently “returned from Sulawesi, where [they] collect[ed] some Sulawesi flying foxes for a captive breeding program and presented an award to a village that has been protecting a camp of over 10,000 flying foxes for over 15 years”.

For more information or to make a donation to support this charity, visit


Photo courtesy of S. Heinrichs

Flying Fox Conservation Fund

For information on bat preservation, you can also check out Tolga Bat Hospital in Australia: Tolga Bat Hospital receives approximately "300 pups each tick season, many of them orphans. We foster out as many orphans as possible but are usually left with over 100 pups at the hospital itself"; and they "house 4 species of Australian flying foxes, tube-nosed bats, and microbats".

"I spotted this beautiful bat in the evening, when the sun was rolling toward the horizon, silhouetting the trees against the perfect sky. The colony of wild Australian flying-foxes (which are basically large bats) to which this one belonged to, were just waking up and stretching their wings. His buddies flew off a moment earlier, and this one was left alone for a few minutes to swing upside-down in the wind, and probably ponder the forest landscape beneath him - or so I like to think! " OcelotEyes


  1. Thank you for this informative, important article!

  2. Fantastic article. I agree wholeheartedly that the last reason listed is the best reason to save them. Animals don't need to benefit humans (though these do) to have the right to live free and unmolested. So glad that there are efforts going on to help these animals.

  3. Thank you for this excellent article, wonderful photos, and the bat painting from one of my favorite artists. I've enjoyed learning more about Fruit Bats and their huge role in dropping seeds to propagate trees. I love what Scott from Flying Fox Conservation fund said about being a voice for the bats, and to learn about the Tolga Bat Hospital - awesome!

  4. "Last but not least, the major reason for protecting fruit bats is that they are beautiful, gentle, intelligent living creatures that deserve to live.” Amen to this!!
    Loved the last photo. I think bats are fascinating. Very good post!


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