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Pteropus rodricensis (TER-ohp-us ROD-reh-sen-sus)
RANGE: The small island of Rodrigues (110 sq km) in the Indian Ocean in the Mauritius (near Madagascar) HABITAT: Dry woodland; needs a variety of sheltered trees for roosting and feeding. SIZE: Weight: 300-350g (10-12 oz); Wingspan: 9m (about 3 ft) LIFESPAN: 20 years in captivity DESCRIPTION: Rodrigues have a distinctive, musky odor, which they rub onto nearby branches, and other bats. They are poor fliers even in moderate winds. Have very furry faces. REPRODUCTION: In the wild, females give birth to one pup a year (in captivity usually twice/yr). Gestation 120-180 days, weaning usually occurs at 10-11 weeks, but occasionally not until 6 months. Young can fly at 3 to 4 months though they remain with their mother for a year. BEHAVIOR: Gregarious, roost in vocal colonies often. Males have harems of up to 8 females. STATUS: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED At the lowest point in 1974, there were only 70 Roddies left in the wild. Captive breeding and conservation efforts raised this to 1,500-2,000 by 1998. Cyclones cause the population to flucuate, but the last count was at roughly 4,000 bats. Primary threats come from hunting, loss of habitat, and cyclones (winds can knock bats from trees & out to sea as well as destroy their food sources). OBC has participated for a number of years in efforts to help conserve this endangered bat. OBC contributes to funding for Rodrigues' first environmental educator whose job it is to encourage and support positive environmental initiatives to save the Rodrigues fruit bat from extinction.