Sulawesi Flying Fox, Acerodon celebensis

The Sulawesi flying fox (Acerodon celebensis), also known as the Sulawesi fruit bat, is a species of mega bat that can be found in the Sulawesi subregion of Indonesia. Its range includes areas of Sulawesi, Butan like Mangole, Sanana, Selayar, Talenge, and Sangihe. It occurs at elevations of up to 4,921 feet in lowland habitats. It is often found in coastal areas near human settlements on the Sula Islands, causing experts to believe that it can withstand a small amount of human disturbance.

Two female Sulawesi flying foxes were captured and studied in 1991, but neither was found to be lactating or pregnant. This suggests that the species breeds seasonally, and that births most likely occur between the months of February and March. This species is often seen consuming coconuts and plant materials from breadfruit trees.

The total population number of the Sulawesi fruit bat is unknown, and it is sometimes difficult to see in the wild, so experts have not been able to confirm a decreasing or increasing population trend. Its main threats include habitat loss caused by deforestation and bushmeat hunting. Individuals are often found in regional and local markets. It is thought that this bat occurs in a few protected areas and it is protected by folklore in other areas, such as Watansoppeng located in South Sulawesi, where it is believed to bring rain and good fortune. More research is needed regarding the species threats and resilience before conservation efforts can be conducted. The Sulawesi flying fox appears in CITES in Appendix II and on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least concern.”

Image Caption: Sulawesi Flying Fox (Acerodon celebensis). Credit: Scott Heinrichs/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)