(CRITICALLY ENDANGERED)Bulmer’s Fruit Bat

Bulmer’s fruit bat (Aproteles bulmerae) is an Old World fruit bat endemic to Papua New Guinea. It is listed as a critically endangered species due to habitat loss and hunting. It is the only member of the genus Aproteles.

Bulmer’s fruit bat was first described from 12,000 year-old fossils found in the central highlands in Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea. It may have become extinct there about 9000 years ago. In 1975, it was discovered in the Hindenburg Wall area of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, in a cave known as Luplupwintem. At that time, local inhabitants described the bat as being abundant, perhaps numbering thousands of bats. However, two years later, the colony had been decimated, apparently by hunters who entered the cave with shotguns and store-bought ropes. During the 1980s, no bats were seen and it was feared that the species may have become extinct. However, by 1993 a colony of about 160 bats was known to be living in the same cave.

A population existed in the Telefomin region of Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea, as recently as 1984. The only other populations reported from recent times are from the vicinity of Herowana in Eastern Highlands Province and from the vicinity of Crater Mountain in Chimbu Province, both in Papua New Guinea (Bonaccorso 1998). It is listed as a living fossil.

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