Not seen for 40 years, critically endangered bats’ species found in Rwanda

WION Web Team
Kigali Updated: Mar 10, 2022, 12:11 PM(IST)

The Hill’s horseshoe bat is currently surviving in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest. Photograph:( Twitter )

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The Hill’s horseshoe bat is currently surviving in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest, the consortium behind the discovery said. As there had been no information on the population of these mammals, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had listed them as critically endangered in 2021

In a welcome development, a critically endangered species of bats, which was not sighted in 40 years, has been found in Rwanda.  

The “incredible” discovery seems to have delighted conservationists, who feared it was already extinct.  

The Hill’s horseshoe bat is currently surviving in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest, the consortium behind the discovery said.   

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As there had been no information on the population of these mammals, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had listed them as critically endangered in 2021.  

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In a statement late on Tuesday, Jon Flanders, director, Bat Conservation International (BCI), said, rediscovering the lost species “was incredible. It’s astonishing to think that we’re the first people to see this bat in so long.”  

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To hold surveys in the jungle in 2013, the Texas-based non-profit had partnered with the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association.

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After a 10-day expedition scouring the caves in the forest, the scientists found the bat in 2019.  

“We knew immediately that the bat we had captured was unusual and remarkable. The facial features were exaggerated to the point of comical,” said BCI’s chief scientist Winifred Frick.  

But it took another three years to verify the species.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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