Hunting of flying foxes and perception of disease risk in Indonesian Borneo

Harrison, M.E. and Cheyne, S.M. and Darma, F. and et al, . (2011) Hunting of flying foxes and perception of disease risk in Indonesian Borneo. Biological Conservation, 144 (10). pp. 2441-2449.

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Widespread hunting of flying foxes has generated concern regarding population declines and the spread of emerging infectious diseases. To investigate the potential impacts of this trade, we conducted questionnaires in 45 settlements across 12 population centres within Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, a region previously identified as a hunting hotspot. By combining results from 63 hunter and 88 vendor interviews, we highlight two population centres (Palangka Raya and Buntok/Tamiang Layang) with higher hunting rates than other areas, which act as flying fox trading hubs. Flying fox populations were perceived to be declining province-wide: declines in captures and sales were reported by 81% of hunters and 60% of market vendors, who also reported availability as the key factor underlying temporal variations in trade. There was substantial risk of zoonotic disease transmission between bats, hunters and traders: the vast majority of respondents were unaware that flying foxes carry potentially fatal viruses, and so few people protected themselves from physical contact. Moreover, both hunters and vendors were frequently bitten and the majority of bites drew blood. Most hunters (58%) also reported unintentional by-catches that included keystone bird species and slow lorises. The scale of hunting over Central Kalimantan represents a serious threat to the long-term viability of flying fox populations (and potentially those of other species), and could have serious public health implications. Reducing or eliminating hunting and trade would mitigate the risk of disease transmission, while maintaining the economic and ecosystem benefits that flying foxes provide, in terms of pollination and seed dispersal.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the State Ministry of Research and Technology (RISTEK), the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA) and CIMTROP for research permissions. Funding was provided by the Lubee Bat Conservancy, Columbus Zoo, P.T. Starling Asia and International Animal Rescue. The write-up was supported by the Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) and a Leverhulme Trust Early Career fellowship awarded to MJS. The following people provided additional information on hunting and/or trade in Kalimantan: Grace Blackham, Hendra, Simon Husson, Krisno, Stanislav Lhota, Godwin Limberg, Sephy Noerfahmy, Rajinda Puri, Indrawati Sendow, Betsy Yaap and Yulianton. Ian Singleton and Gabriella Fredriksson provided information on the trade in flying foxes in northern Sumatra. Finally, we would like to thank four anonymous reviewers, and all of the hunters and market vendors in Kalimantan who openly shared their experience of the flying fox trade. This research was conducted as part of the OuTrop-CIMTROP multi-disciplinary research project.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pteropus vampyrus, Hunting, Emerging infectious disease, Wildlife trade, Henipavirus, Bat
Author Affiliation: Wildlife Research Group, The Anatomy School, University of Cambridge, UK
Subjects: Plant Protection
Social Sciences
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Arbind Seth
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2013 06:45
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2013 06:45
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