Species: Pteropus vampyrus, hypomelanus
Flying foxes are giant fruit bats - the largest bats in the world! They are native to the tropics and subtropics across the Old World, from the eastern coast of Africa to the Pacific. There are two species in Malaysia; Island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) and Large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus).
Why are flying foxes important?
Flying foxes are vegetarians feeding on fruits, flowers (including nectar and pollen) and even leaves. This makes them important pollinators and seed dispersers in tropical and subtropical ecosystem, playing a unique dual role of planting and maintaining healthy forests. They also play a species role as pollinators of durian (Durio zibethinus) flowers.
Flying foxes are threatened and disappearing due to hunting (eaten as delicacy or used as alleged medicine and shot for sports), pest eradication (as they often feed in orchards and farms) and habitat loss (forests, mangroves and swamps are the last critical refuges of these animal).
You can be a flying fox guardian!
Flying foxes are totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716). If you see any suspicious activities harming flying foxes, please call the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN/DWNP) Hotline at 1800-88-5151. If you see a flying fox, please report your sighting to Project Pteropus here.
Project Pteropus is Malaysia's first and only project focused on the ecology and conservation of flying foxes (Pteropus spp.) and other fruit bats (family Pteropodidae). This is a project under Rimba, a non-profit group of scientists who conduct conservation research to help protect Peninsular Malaysia's biodiversity.