Jon Atwood, PhD
Department of Environmental Studies
This project was a baseline study of the population status and general knowledge of Old World fruit bats (suborder Megachiropter: family Pteropodidae) in and near Karachi, Pakistan. It started with preliminary training and a literature investigation at The Lubee Foundation in Gainesville, Florida. A field investigation was conducted in March, 2000, aimed at locating any of the four species of fruit bats that have been recorded in the Karachi area: Cynopterus sphinx, Pteropus giganteus, Rousettus aegyptiacus, and Rousettus leschenaulti. A variety of methods were employed to determine historic and current distribution. A total of twenty sites were visited in and nea Karachi (Sindh Province) to search for potential roost and forage sites. A total of eleven individuals, identified as Rousettus leschenauli, were captured in Karachi, Malir, and Thatta during the study. Many factors wree identified that may impact fruit bats in this region. A theory that an apparent increase in house crows (Corvus splendens) and black kites (Milvus migrans), along with the ability of these birds to disturb and compete with fruit bats, or directly prey up on them, was explored. An apparent increase in lighting structures allows the normally diurnal kites to fly at dusk when they would not otherwise do so. While this light pollution may be beneficial for insectivorous bats, it may have a detrimental impact on the fruit bat population.