Pacific Island flying foxes continue to be commercially hunted for human consumption and transported across international borders, threatening many bat populations. In 1987, when nine species of Pacific Island flying foxes were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the action regulated such trade, but did not prohibit it (BATS, Spring 1988). Additional measures are urgently needed to secure the future of these unique animals.
An upgrade to Appendix I would prohibit international commercial trade of listed species in all but a few exceptional circumstances. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently submitted a proposal to CITES to move six of the nine species to Appendix I, which will be considered at the October 1989 conference of the party nations. The species are: Pteropus insularis, P. mariannus, P. molossinus, P. phaeocephalus, P. pilosus, and P. samoensis. The proposal, originally drafted by BCI members Drs. Elizabeth Pierson and William Rainey, would also add to Appendix II all remaining unlisted species in the flying fox genus Pteropus. All Acerodon species, another group of large flying foxes, would be included as well.
An Appendix I listing would provide the greatest protection for the bats that need it most and will require the greatest commitment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You can assist BCI with this effort by writing a letter in support of the Appendix I listings to: Dr. Charles W. Dane, Office of Scientific Authority, Mail Stop: Room 725, Arlington Square, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240.