Pteropus voeltzkowi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Pteropodidae

Scientific Name: Pteropus voeltzkowi Matschie, 1909
Common Name(s):
English Pemba Flying Fox
Spanish Zorro Volador de Voeltzkow

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-01-29
Assessor(s): Entwistle, A.C. & Juma, J.
Reviewer(s): Mildenstein, T.
Contributor(s): Ali, S., Asseid, B.S., Robinson, J.E. & Seehausen, O.
Listed as Vulnerable because it is restricted to Pemba Island and, although the ongoing conservation activities have significantly reduced the declines of this species, hunting has been reduced but not stopped, human disturbance at roost sites and conflict with local fruit growers are plausible threats increasing that could drive the species to a higher threatened status.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the island of Pemba in Tanzania, where it occurs at elevations from sea level to 45 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Tanzania, United Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):45
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In the early 1990s there was evidence that the population of this species had been reduced to a few hundred animals (Seehausen 1991, Mickleburgh et al. 1991), with an estimate of 2,800 to 3,600 individuals in 1992, the majority being found at just two roost sites (Seehausen et al. 1992). In 1995 Entwistle and Corp (1997a) estimated a population of of 4,600 to 5,500 individuals, with 94% of bats found at 10 roosts (of 41 in total). Over the subsequent years surveys conducted by local teams on the island reported increasing population counts (Entwistle 2001, Trewhella et al. 2005, Carter 2005, Juma 2007). A full survey in 2008 provided a population estimate between 18,200 and 22,100 individuals (Robinson et al. 2010) distributed across 44 active roost sites, with up to 87% of the population found at just four roost sites. Roosts ranged from solitary individuals to colonies of up to 5,040 bats. An unpublished report indicates a more recent population count of over 28,700 in 2011, with evidence of year-on-year increases over the intervening period (DCCFF 2013).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Roost sites are widely distributed across Pemba, with a concentration in the west of the island (Seehausen et al. 1992), and a proportion of the population is found on the small islands off the west and east coast of Pemba (Robinson 2008.) This species has been recorded from primary forest, secondary forest, undisturbed traditional grave yards and mangroves, but appear to mostly rely on primary and secondary moist forest in the dry season (Seehausen et al. 1992). Will roost in several different species of trees, including large examples of non-native trees (such as mango (Mangifera indica) and kapok (Ceiba pentandra), Entwistle and Corp 1997a), the favorite roost tree has been described as Erythrophloeum suaveolens (Robinson 2008). Use of traditional roost sites has been described, with some roosts having been reported as being used for over 50 years (Robinson et al. 2010). Roost sites were widely distributed throughout the island including on small offshore islands up to 5.9 km from Pemba's coast (Robinson et al. 2010). Seehausen (1990) concluded from interviews with inhabitants of Pemba that the species used to occur in the western parts of the island, which was once covered with rain forest, and not in the eastern, drier part. Dietary analysis showed that mango was the main component of the diet, but the the species also ate other cultivated and native fruits (including breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) and figs (Ficus spp.)), flowers and leaves (Entwistle and Corp 1997b).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Much of the natural forest habitat of this bat has been cleared or severely fragmented. The species has been hunted for food with the use of shotguns replacing traditional methods, resulting in an unsustainable use (Seehausen 1991, Entwistle and Corp 1997a). As of 2005, hunting had been reduced but not stopped on Pemba (Trewhella et al. 2005). In addition human disturbance at roost sites appears to have a significant impact on colony sizes (Robinson et al. 2010). A potential emerging threat may include increasing conflict with local fruit growers, given the species’ growing population and tendency to eat cultivated fruit (Robinson et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Ongoing awareness raising on the importance and uniqueness of the endemic fruit bat, and the need for hunting controls and prevention of roost site disturbance, has been undertaken through environmental education programmes (Seehausen et al. 1992, Entwistle and Corp 1997a, Trewhella et al. 2005, Juma 2007). Communities are directly leading active conservation programmes for their local roosts, and three of the four largest roosts were associated with community protection schemes (Robinson et al. 2010).The local community has been supported to develop bat related ecotourism activities (Juma 2007). It is not known whether land use change (abandonment of clove plantations) may also have contributed to population recovery (Robinson et al. 2010). This species occurs in two sites which are formally gazetted - Ngezi-Vumawimbi Nature Forest Reserve and Msitu Kuu Forest (Pakenham 1984, Juma 2007). Illegal logging and the invasive umbrella tree (Maesopsis eminii), that degrades the habitat of this bat, are being controlled within the Nature Forest Reserve (Juma 2007). This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.2. Utility & service lines
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bergmans, W. 1990. Taxonomy and Biogeography of African Fruit Bats (Mammalia, Megachiroptera). 3. The Genera Scotonycteris Matschie, 1894, Casinycteris Thomas, 1910, Pteropus Brisson, 1762, and Eidolon Rafinesque, 1815. Beaufortia 40(7): 111-177.

Carter, E. 2005. Sub-report III. Unpublished Report. The Pemba Flying Fox Project, Cambridge, UK.

Department for Commercial Crops, Fruits and Forestry. 2013. Community participation on the conservation of endemic Pemba flying fox in Pemba island, Zanzibar. Unpublished report. DCCFF, Pemba, Tanzania.

Entwistle, A. 2001. Community-based protection successful for the Pemba flying fox. Oryx 35(4): 355–356.

Entwistle, A. and Corp, N. 1997a. Status and distribution of the Pemba flying fox Pteropus voeltzkowi. Oryx 31(2): 135–142.

Entwistle, A. and Corp, N. 1997b. The diet of Pteropus voeltzkowi, an endangered fuit bat endemic to Pemba Island, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 35: 351-360.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Juma, J. 2007. CEPF Project: Conservation of Indigenous Forest and Endemic Species on Pemba Island. Unpublished report by Flora and Fauna International, Nairobi, Kenya.

Kumar, J. and Kanaujia, A. 2009. Conservation status of flying mammal: Bats. Research in Environment and Life Sciences 2(3): 137-146.

Mickleburgh, S.P., Hutson, A.M. and Racey, P.A. 1992. Old World Fruit-Bats - An Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

O’Brien, J., Mariani, C., Olson, L., Russell, A.L., Say, L., Yoder, A.D. and Hayden, T.J. 2009. Multiple colonisations of the western Indian Ocean by Pteropus fruit bats (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae): The furthest islands were colonised first. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 294-303.

Pakenham, R.H.W. 1984. The Mammals of Zanzibar and Pemba islands. Printed Privately, Harpenden.

Robinson, J.E. 2008. The Endemic Pemba Flying Fox Pteropus voeltzkowi:Population and Conservation Status. Unpublished Masters dissertation. University of East Anglia.

Robinson, J.E., Bell, D.J., Saleh, F.M., Suleiman, A. And Barr, I. 2010. Recovery of the Vulnerable Pemba flying fox Pteropus voeltzkowi: population and conservation status. Oryx 44(3): 416-423.

Seehausen, O. 1990. Vom Aussterben bedroht: Der Pemba Flughund. Zoologischen Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz 6(1): 12-16.

Seehausen, O. 1991. The Pemba fruit bat - on the edge of extinction? Oryx 25: 110–112.

Simmons, N.B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 312-529. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Trewhella, W.J., Rodriguez-Clark, K.M., Corp, N., Entwistle, A., Garrett, S.R.T., Granek, E., Lengel, K.L., Raboude, M.J., Reason, P.F. and Sewall, B.J. 2005. Environmental education as a component of multidisciplinary conservation programmes: lessons from conservation initiatives for Critically Endangered fruit bats in the Western Indian Ocean. Conservation Biology 19(1): 75-85.

Van Cakenberghe, V. and Seamark, E. 2012. African Chiropteran Report 2012. African Bats, Pretoria.

Citation: Entwistle, A.C. & Juma, J. 2016. Pteropus voeltzkowi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18768A22089205. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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