BCI celebrated the official dedication of the National Park of American Samoa this past August (see story, page 11). Our congratulations to all members who helped promote the 1988 bill that established the park.
One of the many species protected on the 8,000-plus acres of tropical park land is the Samoan flying fox (Pteropus samoensis). This largely diurnal bat searches for fruit and flowers during early morning and late afternoon and can frequently be seen soaring on thermals in midday. It is found in Fiji as well, though it is primarily nocturnal there--possibly due to the threat of hawks during the day.
BCI staff and members also worked to gain CITES legislation in 1986, banning the commercial export of Samoan flying foxes from American Samoa to Guam, where they are considered a delicacy. At that time, hunting and loss of habitat were threatening the bats with extinction in Samoa.
Photos by Merlin D. Tuttle (park) and W.E. Rainey (bat)