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Pteropus lylei primarily forages in residential areas in Kandal, Cambodia

Choden K., Ravon S., Epstein J.H., Hoem T., Furey N.M., Gély M., Jolivot A., Hul V., Neung C., Tran A., Cappelle J.. 2019. Ecology and Evolution, 9 (7) : p. 4181-4191.

Bats are the second most species-rich Mammalian order and provide a wide range of ecologically important and economically significant ecosystem services. Nipah virus is a zoonotic emerging infectious disease for which pteropodid bats have been identified as a natural reservoir. In Cambodia, Nipah virus circulation has been reported in Pteropus lylei, but little is known about the spatial distribution of the species and the associated implications for conservation and public health. We deployed Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on 14 P. lylei to study their movements and foraging behavior in Cambodia in 2016. All of the flying foxes were captured from the same roost, and GPS locations were collected for 1 month. The habitats used by each bat were characterized through ground-truthing, and a spatial distribution model was developed of foraging sites. A total of 13,643 valid locations were collected during the study. Our study bats flew approximately 20 km from the roost each night to forage. The maximum distance traveled per night ranged from 6.88¿105 km and averaged 28.3 km. Six of the 14 bats visited another roost for at least one night during the study, including one roost located 105 km away. Most foraging locations were in residential areas (53.7%) followed by plantations (26.6%). Our spatial distribution model confirmed that residential areas were the preferred foraging habitat for P. lylei, although our results should be interpreted with caution due to the limited number of individuals studied. Synthesis and applications: Our findings suggest that the use of residential and agricultural habitats by P. lylei may create opportunities for bats to interact with humans and livestock. They also suggest the importance of anthropogenic habitats for conservation of this vulnerable and ecologically important group in Cambodia. Our mapping of the probability of occurrence of foraging sites will help identification of areas where public awareness should be promoted regarding the ecosystem services provided by flying foxes and potential for disease transmission through indirect contact.

Mots-clés : santé publique; télémétrie; Écologie animale; système de positionnement global; habitat; virus; chiroptera; pteropus [en]; cambodge; pteropus lylei

Thématique : Ecologie animale; Autres thèmes; Méthodes de relevé

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