Monday, 25 September 2017

Christmas Island’s only echolocating bat has gone extinct

14 September 2017

By Chelsea Whyte
The Christmas Island pipistrelle, a bat species found only on an Australian island, has been declared extinct. The final nail in the coffin was hammered in as part of the latest update to the Red List of Threatened Species, which is maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“It’s very difficult to decide when a species definitely has gone extinct,” says Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN’s Red List unit.
But the last Christmas Island pipistrelle was seen in 2009. “It’s not a cryptic species, it’s got a distinctive call,” says Hilton-Taylor. “We probably could have declared it extinct earlier, but we’ve been waiting for surveys.”
The Thongaree’s disc-nosed bat, a newly-discovered species that lives in a small region of Thailand, entered the list as critically endangered – just one step from going extinct. “If we’d known about it earlier, it would have moved through the categories. That’s just what happened unseen until now,” says Hilton-Taylor.
The new list isn’t all bad news for bats. The Rodrigues flying fox moves from critically endangered to endangered. Hilton-Taylor says that’s due to coordinated actions by the government and local organisations, including legal protection and habitat restoration.

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