Large flying-foxes in insular Southeast Asia are the most threatened of the Old World fruit bats due to high levels of deforestation and hunting and effectively little local conservation commitment. The forest at Subic Bay, Philippines, supports a rare, large colony of vulnerable Philippine giant fruit bats (Pteropus vampyrus lanensis) and endangered and endemic golden-crowned flying-foxes (Acerodon jubatus). These large flying-foxes are optimal for conservation focus, because in addition to being keystone, flagship, and umbrella species, the bats are important to Subic Bay's economy and its indigenous cultures. Habitat selection information streamlines management's efforts to protect and conserve these popular but threatened animals. We used radio telemetry to describe the bats' nighttime use of habitat on two ecological scales: vegetation and microhabitat. The fruit bats used the entire 14,000 ha study area, including all of Subic Bay Watershed Reserve, as well as neighboring forests just outside the protected area boundaries. Their recorded foraging locations ranged between 0.4 and 12 km from the roost. We compared the bats' use to the availability of vegetative habitat types, riparian areas, and bat trees. The fruit bats' locations showed a preference for undisturbed forest types and selection against disturbed and agricultural areas. Bat locations also showed selection for particular fruiting/flowering bat trees. The bats showed strong preference for riparian areas; locations were in riparian areas over four times more than expected. From these results we recommend that management focus flying-fox conservation efforts on undisturbed forest and riparian areas.
- Acerodon jubatus
- Fruit bat
- Habitat selection
- Pteropus vampyrus
- Threatened species conservation