Flying Foxes (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae): Threatened Animals of Key Ecological and Economic Importance


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Publication Date

December 1991


Flying foxes are animals of extraordinary ecological and economic importance throughout forests of the Old World tropics Nearly 200 species play an essential role as forest pollinators and seed dispersers, yet they are frequently misunderstood intensely persecuted and exceptionally vulnerable to extinction Their role in the propagation of numerous important plants remains virtually uninvestigated. However, our review of already available literature demonstrates that at least 289 plant species rely to vatying degrees on large populations of flying foxes for propagation. These plants, in addition to their many ecological contributing produce some 448 economically valuable products. The fact that flying foxes are increasingly threaten and that few baseline data exist on population trends is cause for concern Many appear to be in severe decline, and several species are already extinct. We present initial observations on flying fox importance and survival threats in hopes of highlighting research and conservation needs.

Document Type



Conservation Biology, Vol. 5, no. 4 (1991-12).