Biodiversity focus: The Straw-colored Fruit Bat (Eidolon helvum)
The Straw-colored fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) is a rapidly declining mammal and has been classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Despite being an adaptable species, widespread deforestation and hunting for food and medicinal uses are the main causes of declining populations.
Mainly found south of the Sahara, the straw-colored fruit bat is a nocturnal species, foraging mainly on fruit. Within the IITA-Ibadan Campus, this bat is an iconic species in the Tree Heritage Park (THP), a “Noah’s Ark”, where over 100 different species of native fruiting trees have been propagated. It is therefore hardly surprising that straw-colored fruit bats are found roosting in hundreds of thousands in this area—food resources and safety are a priority!
The IITA-Ibadan Campus is protected against poaching and holds about 350-ha regenerating secondary rainforest, which is globally recognized as an important site for bird conservation.
The straw-colored fruit bat only spends the dry season in the THP and migrates, probably northward, at the onset of the rains. So, if you want to see this amazing mammal, visit the THP between October and April.