Where in the world are the flying foxes?3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Whoa! Wait a minute. Flying foxes? At this point, you probably have a lot of questions. You’re wondering how foxes fly and generally flabbergasted that there are other mammals, apart from bats, that can actually take to the skies. Before we unravel that mystery, let’s hop on an imaginary flight to one of the places where they’re commonly found. It also happens to be one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet, Madagascar.
So where is this magical island full of flying creatures?
Madagascar is an island right off the southeast coast of the continent of Africa. When humanity’s great migrations happened, Madagascar was left out.
No, no, stop the GIFs! This was actually a good thing. When humans decided to take animals across oceans on ships, it reduced the number of native species. Invasive species caused this reduction by preying on indigenous animals. Fortunately, Madagascar, being where it is, isolated in the Indian Ocean, escaped this mostly unscathed.
So, this made it a hidden island cloaked in mist and created by Zeus to escape the eyes of men….?
Err..no. Madagascar is magical because it has retained its almost 12,000 endemic species. But Zeus should probably have kept it better hidden for all we know because humans are threatening a lot of these species.
Some of them, like the Fossa, Aye-Aye lemur, Coquerel’s and Silky Sifaka, Humboldt’s Heron, and the Antsingy Leaf Chameleon have made the endangered species list, and are on the verge of extinction. This is because of habitat loss and poaching, the fur of some of these animals sell for up to INR1.5 crores ($200,000)! But just as we always cause issues, there are a few of us that are stepping up conservation efforts to preserve these beautiful species.
So, are we ever going to talk about the flying foxes?
Yes, we are. Actually, let’s clarify something first; flying foxes are actually not foxes. They’re bats. And to answer our question from before; you can find these flying foxes in Madagascar.
These bats are the most common on the island and their diet consists mainly of fruit and fruit juice. They also eat seeds, leaves, flowers and nectar.
These animals are on the Red List of Threatened Spcies and are considered ‘vulnerable’ to extinction. That means, it’s numbers are declining fast and this is mostly because it is hunted for bushmeat.
Wait, there’s more!
There’s another animal that Madagascar is known for. Any guesses?
The lemur is Madagascar’s most famous animal and its crowning glory. You can only see it in Madagascar, and there are hundreds of native species of this animal spread across the island. (You may remember the Lemur King from the movie Madagascar and his famous antics) Sadly, humans continue to hunt these animals for their rarity.
With all this wildlife living in Madagascar, we hope that conservationists keep up their efforts to save all these unique species.