Video update 8: Malaysia’s Flying Foxes

Today is Bat Appreciation Day!

Bats are wonderful animals, and they do so much for us! Malaysia is home to our very own Keluang, or Flying Foxes — some of the largest fruit bats in the world. Fruit bats are some of the few animals with a dual role of both pollinators and seed dispersers, and function as highly efficient night-time gardeners who can fly across vast distances.

However, their populations are declining at an alarming rate. Prejudiced and misunderstood, flying foxes are often killed despite their importance in maintaining the health of our tropical ecosystems.

This short video introduces you to Malaysia’s wonderful flying foxes and encourages you to support their protection and conservation, highlighting the vital ecological roles of these fascinating animals through never-before-seen footage from the wild.

Written, produced and directed by Ng Wen Qing for Project Pteropus, Rimba. Big thanks also to Sanjitpaal Singh of Jitspics and Xploregaia, and Kapas Conservation Club for contributing footage. Bahasa Malaysia, Cantonese, and Mandarin versions available further below.

This #BatAppreciationDay, let’s all take a moment to #thankthebats and pledge to protect them  🦇

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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!