Bulmer’s fruit bat may be the most endangered species of bat in the world; with 1993 estimates of one subpopulation being 137-160.
They are the largest species of cave dwelling bat, and only inhabit altitudes of 1800-2400m above sea level. Believed to have become extinct at the end of the last Ice Age glaciation, the species was rediscovered in a precipitous mountain cave in 1975. Shortly after the Bulmer’s fruit bat discovery, this small population was almost wiped out by hunters with guns. It is the only member of the Aproteles genus, and a part of the Pteropodidae, megabat, family. Further studies to clarify its distribution and population are needed to properly plan a conservation strategy.
- Order: Chiroptera
- Family: Pteropodidae
- Population: 137-160
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 242mm
- Weight: 600g
Bulmer’s fruit bat is endemic to the island of New Guinea. It is currently known only to inhabit a single cave, known locally as Luplupwintem, located in the Hindenburg ranges of far western Papua New Guinea. It is possible that other populations exist in remote mountainous regions of the island.
Habitat and Ecology
The only known roost of the species is an enormous vertical-sided cave near the edge of a large escarpment at an altitude of 2,400m. The cave is surrounded by mossy montane forest dominated by conifers. It is thought to only eat fruit.