JERSEY Zoo has captured footage of the birth of the world’s rarest fruit bat species for the first time.
The Livingstone’s fruit bat is critically endangered, with only an estimated 1,300 of the species remaining in the wild.
The bat pup, which is yet to be named, was born on 27 April to eight-year-old mother, Nymeria. While inspecting Nymeria, curator of mammals Dominic Wormell managed to capture the footage, along with student Ksenia Potapova.
Keepers are happy with how the pup is progressing, after it was born weighing 50 to 70 grams.
The charity has pioneered the conservation of these ‘super mammals’, with a record-breaking 16 healthy pups born into the colony last year.
The spread of human populations in their native islands of Anjouan and Mohéli in the Comoros has destroyed their habitat, and driven the species to the edge of extinction.
Once it is able to fly in a few month’s time, the pup will be able to soar around the Zoo’s 800m-sq Island Bat Roost enclosure, which the Livingstone’s fruit bats share with the small but feisty Rodrigues fruit bats.
Mr Wormell said: ‘Witnessing a bat birth is an incredible experience and the fact that we caught this on camera is amazing.
‘Bats often have a bad reputation, but they are extremely social and caring animals. Mothers form a remarkably close bond with their infant which is wonderful to watch.
‘Bats are really the most incredible animals and are so important to healthy ecosystems around the world.
‘Hundreds of food plants are dependent on bats for pollination or seed dispersal. In the Comoros Islands, where the Livingstone’s fruit bats originate from, the ecosystem has been hugely depleted to the point that 50% of the waterways have dried up. This has an enormous impact on the human population, as well as the wildlife on the islands. Bats are crucial to bringing back these forests and helping these ecosystems replenish.’