Cyprus Fruit Bats Decline and Head to Turkey?

fruit bats hanging from a cave Animals the world over are changing where they live as humans effect changes on the land. Beyond the bees (see what this market would look like without bees!), the latest decline to be noticed are fruit bats in Cyprus, an island offshore Turkey partly independent, and partly ruled by Turkey. Officials in Cyprus have noticed a shocking 85 percent decline in the bat population in Cyprus, according to a local paper. Cyprus is the only community belonging to the European Union that plays host to fruit bats.

There is speculation that the bats are declining because there is a sudden decline in agriculture on Cyprus, probably due to the high cost of water on the water-parched community. This article confirms my hunch. The local ministries in Cyprus think the bats are heading north to the Turkish mainland where water is abundant and agriculture thrives.

Meanwhile Cyprus is attempting to market itself as a Food Island, and its quality over quality. It is pushing for wine and other high-value agriculture commodities famous from the Mediterranean region.

Over here in Jaffa, Israel where I live I can’t help but notice a flourishing fruit bat population. In my yard we play host to an active fruit bat group who are super happy to munch on our mulberry tree when it is in season (here’s a recipe for humans on stuffed mulberry leaves), leaving their tell-tale streaks of burgundy bat poop splattered over the white walls outside. After mulberry season ends, another large canopy tree beside us bears small fruit keeping the bats happy until winter.

Worried about bats? Plant more fruit trees and share your harvest with them.

Image of fruit bats from Shutterstock

3 thoughts on “Cyprus Fruit Bats Decline and Head to Turkey?

  1. Joe

    Fruit bats are really useful as they pollinate the plants they visit, disperse the plants’ seeds as they eat, and, eat up to 600 mosquitoes an hour!
    Unfortunately the Greek Cypriots are poor custodians of their flora and fauna, so the bats are moving. In time pesticides will be needed in low lying areas such as Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos etc, to achieve what these bats do naturally.

    Reply
  2. Ned Hamson

    Too many fruit bats due to industrial strength agriculture is also a problem because of the diseases they can pass on. Hendra and Nipah viruses – Marburg virus in one type of African fruit bat, SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus… ebola…

    Reply

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