Tough time ahead for Cyprus' bats
Of the 41,000 species of bats worldwide, 16,000 are close to extinction. Of these, the fruit bats are having a particularly tough time, say experts.
Across the globe, the mammals’ diet preferences are pitting them against farmers. In Cyprus, the only European country with a fruit bat population, years of farmer-bat conflict have pushed the species to the very brink.
Conservation expert Andreas Demetropoulos and his team have been carrying out a three-year study on the distribution and diversity of bats and found that the many natural caves in limestone areas are perfect for the animals, if only there was greater understanding among people of the importance of the species as pollinators and their role as biological pest controllers. In recent times, the Cyprus government has been funding farmers to buy nets to protect their fruit and the bats.