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  • Writer's pictureIsland Bat Research Group

Yanbaru whiskered bat reported from Okinawa after 22 years

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

On Feb 20, we captured our first Yanbaru whiskered bat. This male weighed only 5 grams. In order to figure out what types of places this species prefers to roost, we attached an appropriately tiny radio transmitter (see the antenna?).

National and international news outlets helped us report our recent capture of the Yanbaru whiskered bat in Yanbaru Forest. As its name suggests, this Critically Endangered bat was first discovered in Yanbaru Forest 22 years ago by Dr. Kishio Maeda and Dr. Sumiko Matsumura. Although this species has been recorded more recently from Tokunoshima and Amami-Oshima, this was the first report from Okinawa Island since the original discovery. This portion of Yanbaru Forest was formerly part of the US military's Northern Training Area and was returned to Japan in Dec 2016. We suspect that the lack of tree cutting over at least the last fifty years may be why this tree-dwelling bat has persisted in the area. Now that we have managed to catch these elusive bats, we have a chance to study how they live and how best to conserve them.

Some examples of media coverage

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