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Pteropus samoensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CHIROPTERA PTEROPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Pteropus samoensis
Species Authority: Peale, 1848
Common Name(s):
English Samoan Flying Fox, Samoa Flying-fox
French Roussette Des Îles Samoa

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Brooke, A. & Wiles, G.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team), Racey, P.A., Medellín, R. & Hutson, A.M. (Chiroptera Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened because it is still relatively widely distributed, and numbers do not appear to be declining fast enough to qualify for a threatened category. In the 1980s through the mid 1990s, the species suffered dramatic declines in Samoa and American Samoa as the result of storms, logging, direct exploitation, and the interaction of these factors. Continued monitoring of the status of this species is important and could lead to the listing of this species in the future. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2.
History:
1996 Vulnerable (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Samoan Flying Fox is restricted to Fiji, Samoa, and American Samoa. In Fiji it is known from the islands of Vatu Vara, Cicia, Vanua Balavu, Kadavu, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, and probably occurs on some medium-sized islands in the Lau Group (Palmeirim et al. 2005). In Samoa, it has been recorded on the islands of 'Upolu and Savai'i. In American Samoa it has been recorded on Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta'u (Mickleburgh et al. 1992; Flannery 1995). The species was prehistorically present in Tonga, but was extirpated at the time of Polynesian colonization (Koopman and Steadman 1995).
Countries:
Native:
American Samoa (American Samoa, American Samoa); Fiji; Samoa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Samoan Flying Fox appears to be regularly encountered in Fiji and American Samoa. Overall, populations of this species are not large anywhere and may be slowly declining (A. Brooke pers. comm.). The population in American Samoa has been stable since 1996 and was estimated at approximately 900 animals in the late 1990s (Brooke 2001). In Samoa, the populations are scattered, but it is found in all forested areas, while in American Samoa this species can be observed, island-wide (A. Brooke pers. comm.). In Fiji, the species is moderately common in some lowland areas of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (Palmeirim et al. 2005, 2007). It also occurs on some medium-sized islands, but usually avoids smaller islands.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Unlike most other pteropodids, this species roosts alone or in small family groups; most often in the forest canopy. It is found in primary tropical moist forest, and less often in agroforest, plantations, and village areas especially when roosting (Mickleburgh et al. 1992). The females are believed to give birth to a single young annually.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Samoa and American Samoa, it is principally threatened by overexploitation and forest clearance (logging and conversion to cultivated land). Populations underwent drastic declines in the 1980s. Commercial hunting of the species largely took place to supply the export demand for fruit bats as a luxury food item in Guam and the Northern Marianas. However, this is no longer a threat to the species, because it was listed on Appendix I of CITES in 1990, and international trade in this species is effectively illegal. Hunting of bats for the domestic market appears to have increased in Samoa and American Samoa since the 1980s, and is still a concern today (A. Brooke pers. comm.). In Fiji, the hunting of this species is only for local consumption and is not a major threat to the species, particularly on large islands (Palmeirim et al. 2005). However, if Fijians either begin to hunt flying foxes with guns or to collect for trade the threat of overexploitation could become serious (Palmeirim et al. 2005).

Populations throughout the range of this species are susceptible to typhoons and other storm events (Mickleburgh et al. 1992; Flannery 1995). In the early 1990s, storms diminished populations in Samoa and American Samoa, by destroying food sources and leading to noticeable changes is foraging behaviour and overhunting (Daschbach 1990; Craig et al. 1994; Pierson et al. 1996; Grant et al. 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Samoan Flying Fox is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Continued enforcement of export bans of this species is necessary to aid recovery. Domestic legislation to regulate hunting is needed over all the species' range states. Legal protection is present in some protected areas in Samoa and the National Park of American Samoa, which contains important sites for foraging and roosting (A. Brooke pers. comm.). Local awareness programmes are needed to emphasize the importance of wildlife resources. Key sites for roosting and foraging should be identified and protected (Mickleburgh et al. 1992). Both flying fox species (Pteropus samoensis and Pteropus tonganus) are still under a hunting ban in American Samoa, however, this legislation is temporary (A. Brooke pers. comm.). There is a ban on hunting any bat in American Samoa, but bats are taken for personal consumption as this ban is not widely enforced (A. Brooke pers. comm.). In Fiji, there is a need to assess the distribution (particularly its occurrence in the Lau Group) and to protect native forests (Palmeirim et al. 2005).

Citation: Brooke, A. & Wiles, G. 2008. Pteropus samoensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2014.
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