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Conservation Stories: Bats in Asia and the Pacific Islands!

The month of May celebrates our Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander friends. This month is all about honoring the connection people have to their native identities, uplifting their voices, and acknowledging the impact they have made on the United States. Celebrations are held all over the United States for the nearly 5% of the US population that identify as Asian American.

Image Credit: Kent State University

Here at Lubee, we care for bats that call Asia and many of the Pacific Islands home. The Malayan flying fox, Variable flying fox, Little Golden Mantled flying fox, and Indian flying fox are all native to places like India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. 

Despite living in the United States, our bats continue to carry traits of their homelands. They are no stranger to humidity, rainstorms, and high winds, like the monsoons they would face in the wild. While we feed them fruits like apples, pears, and grapes, they are often more fond of native asian fruits, like banana, mango, rambutan, lychee, durian, and jackfruit.

In addition to caring for our bats here in Florida, Lubee actively does conservation work in Asian countries and on Pacific Islands. Our conservation work helps employ native workers and provides money and resources for local conservation groups. Our goal is always to work with native people who know their home the best to provide whatever we can to help them reach their conservation goals and protect the bats and as many other animals as possible.

For example, on the island of Fiji, Lubee’s partners have found cave roosting sites for endangered bats like the Pacific sheath-tailed bat on island expeditions. Some of these roosts are protected and others are not, so our partners are working to protect those that aren’t. Lubee provides monetary help to fund both the expeditions and the potential legal fees involved in protecting these areas.

Image Credit: By USFWS - Pacific Region - Emballonura semicaudata, Ovalau Island - Joanne Malotaux, Public Domain,

On the island of New Caledonia, Lubee’s partners have found some of the last remaining roosting sites of the New Caledonia long-eared bat and New Caledonia blossom bat. With Lubee’s help, there are discussions in New Caledonia to formally protect these caves through community engagement and working with government entities.

Image Credit: Nicolas-Alain Petit/Biosphoto

Roosting sites are incredibly important to the survival of bat species. Roosts are not only where they gather for protection, but where they give birth and raise their pups. Protecting roosting sites can be the difference between a bat species surviving and a bat species going extinct. And the survival of a bat species can maintain an entire ecosystem, especially on smaller islands like Fiji and New Caledonia.

On Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, Lubee provides funding for the conservation of the endangered Bougainville Monkey-faced bat. Working with multiple conservation groups across the island, the goal is to locate roosts to try and confirm the presence of the species and collect information on the species, the roosts, and the surrounding areas. To achieve these goals, they are working with the community, holding consultations to request permission to conduct research within the community and clan lands and recruiting local guides.

Image Credit: Dave Waldien/BCI

As you can tell, conservation work in other countries should involve working closely with the community. It’s important to listen to native voices when it comes to protecting native animals. With the conservation work Lubee does, our goal always features working with the community, especially since we don’t have our own workers there. We trust our partners to know what’s best for the community and how to communicate best with the people that may get involved or be affected.

So to circle back around, this is the month to honor Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander identities, communities, traditions, contributions, and even animals, and commit to listening to and uplifting those voices.

To all our batty friends out there, happy AAPI month!

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