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Pteropus cognatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Pteropus cognatus Andersen, 1908
Common Name(s):
English Makira Flying Fox
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of Pteropus cognatus in relation to P. rayneri and P. rennelli is in need of review.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-06-13
Assessor(s): Lavery, T.H.
Reviewer(s): Mildenstein, T.
Contributor(s): James, R., Hamilton, S. & Helgen, K.
Justification:
Makira Flying Fox is listed as Vulnerable because the population is severely fragmented, its extent of occurrence (EOO) is approximately 6,000 km², and there is continuing decline in its EOO, the quality of its habitat, and number of mature individuals, due to logging and land conversion for agriculture. Pteropus cognatus is hunted and recent questionnaire surveys of Makira residents (2016) have indicated the majority of people believe the species is in decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This poorly-known species is endemic to the Solomon Islands. It has been recorded from the islands of Makira (San Cristobal) and Uki Ni Masi (Flannery 1995). The species was recorded in the early 1990s from OluMalau (Three Sisters) Island, but these are likely to be vagrants. The total area of the two islands is just over 3,200 km². It has been found at sea level and at 350 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Solomon Islands
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):350
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Only a few specimens of this species have been collected, the last being from NgoraNgora in December 2012, and a trophy jaw from Hauta in December 2015. It can be observed around village gardens and animals are commonly hunted by local people with slings as the bats feed on garden fruit trees (R. James pers. comm., T. Lavery pers. comm).

No data are available on population sizes or trends. Pteropus cognatus is regularly hunted for food and recent questionnaire surveys of Makira residents (2016) indicated that residents from four of five cultural regions of the island believe the species is in significant decline.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:There is little information on the natural history of this species. It is believed to be solitary (Flannery 1995). A nursing mother was found by day hanging in a banana tree by a river. This species is often seen congregating in small numbers (approximately 3-6 individuals) on fruiting trees close to villages, in these conditions, the species is more vulnerable to hunting (R. James pers. comm).
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species, along with P. tonganus, is harvested for food and for its teeth (to make kastom necklaces). Necklaces consist of shell disks separating clusters of four flying-fox canine teeth (P. tonganus and P. cognatus), and contain approximately 30 clusters. However, results from a questionnaire survey of 200 Makira residents suggested teeth used for kastom necklaces were made almost exclusively from P. tonganus with a limited number of respondents indicating they also used P. cognatus teeth. Several respondents in the central Bauro region also reported selling caught flying-foxes as food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is hunted for food, and this may be a threat. The species is also hunted for its teeth, which are used in necklaces. Subsistence agriculture and land conversion for cocoa and teak plantations and rice farms could significantly impact this species, due to its highly restricted distribution. Large-scale logging on Makira is potentially a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It is not known if the species is present in any protected areas. There was a community based conservation program to control hunting in the central Bauro area, but this is no longer active. Further research is needed into population size, ecology, harvest levels, and threats to this species.

Citation: Lavery, T.H. 2017. Pteropus cognatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T136397A22014516. . Downloaded on 18 December 2017.
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