Bat Week 2019: Remember to thank the bats for our durian!

The last week of October is official International #BatWeek! It takes place from the 24th to the 31st. Download press kit here.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate all the many different ways bats are awesome, and to remember why we humans need them, and also to overturn the prevailing negative images and associations with bats that get particularly ramped up during this time of the year.

Bats are NOT scary, spooky, creepy, or evil. Bats are helping us! To kick off Bat Week 2019 and explain how bats help people in Southeast Asia specifically, Project Pteropus has produced this informative and educational video on how durian trees get pollinated by fruit bats, which is based on the results of our pioneering research.

Using watercolour drawings by local artist Novia Shin, and animated by Penang-based production company Hatchtag Media, it was made possible through partnerships with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Year of the Durian, Green Acres Orchard, Cintai Tioman, the Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Unit, and Mabuwaya Foundation – thanks to grants generously provided by the Rufford Foundation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Habitat Foundation.

This video is also available in Malay and Mandarin (Simplified Chinese subtitles). If you would like to obtain a copy for your own non-profit conservation outreach or environmental education purposes, please contact Sheema.

Happy Bat Week and let’s look forward to the next durian season when we can #thankthebats again!!


Video update 5: Project Pteropus takes flight

Did you know that International Bat Night is taking place in a week’s time??? Sadly, the Asia-Pacific region isn’t participating, and Malaysia won’t be holding any bat-related activities for that (a situation that we need to change!).

However, we felt that in conjunction with this, it is particularly fitting for Rimba to release the official Project Pteropus video! Sheema publicly unveiled this video during her presentation at the 3rd Southeast Asian Bat Conference (SEABCO2015) in Kuching this month.

This video highlights our work on fruit bats, and also aims to spread awareness on the importance of flying foxes and why we should conserve them. We hope to come out with a shorter, more general version soon, and in different Southeast Asian languages too!

Share away and help to spread the message!

Special update: Terengganu protects flying foxes!

We’ve got some happy news from Malaysia to help celebrate the Year of the Bat! We’re very pleased to announce that the state government of Terengganu in Peninsular Malaysia has just agreed to protect flying foxes!

Under Peninsular Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, flying foxes can be legally hunted by applying for a licence from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN). Concerned by the amount of flying foxes being shot by hunters for sport and fun, we submitted a proposal and met with the state executive councillor in charge of environmental affairs. We lobbied for a moratorium on hunting flying fox in the state. We argued that these wonderful creatures need to be given better protection.

And the state government said yes!

From now on, indefinitely, the Terengganu PERHILITAN will no longer issue licences for people to hunt flying fox. They have also been directed to beef up monitoring and enforcement, and to gazette roost sites and important flying fox habitat (e.g. swamps) for protection.

Bats-1; Hunters-0. Thank you Datuk Toh Chin Yaw!!! And thank you PERHILITAN!

We asked the wonderful folks at the environmental desk of The Star if they could help us highlight the issue. They decided to give it extensive coverage. Read more about it here:

Terengganu bans hunting of flying fox

Gliding towards the brink

Hunting rules

The timing of this positive development couldn’t be better. Did you know that 2011-2012 has been declared the Year of the Bat??? Click on the official logo below to find out more about it and what’s being done across the globe to help bats!