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Kolar Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros hypophyllus)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13257645

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13257645) - Kolar Leaf-nosed Bat - Awarded $9,000 on January 17, 2014

Bats are ecologically important and are sensitive to disturbances. They are also riddled with myths, superstitions and fallacies leading to general apathy. Owing to these declines in bat species richness and population have been observed throughout the region. Kolar Leaf-nosed bat, Hipposideros hypophyllus Kock and Bhatt, 1994, is a restricted range species known from only two closely located areas in a highly disturbed habitat in Kolar district, Karnataka, India. The species qualifies as high-priority conservation species as it has not been sighted since its description in 1994.

Hipposideros hypophyllus Kock & Bhat 1994 is listed as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN RedList (Molur & Srinivasulu 2008) based on its restricted distribution in two sites (EOO less than 500 km2) in Kolar district, continuing decline in the quality of the habitat and threats such as mining and loss of foraging grounds. Subsequent surveys have not yielded any sightings of this species (Molur & Srinivasulu 2008). No information about its population, threats, habitat and ecology of this species exists, excepting that it is known to roost in large subterranean caves and share its roost with other species of Hipposideros. The Kolar district is dotted with many cave systems and old temples that are suitable habitats for many cave-dwelling bat species and might harbour a good population of this species and other sympatric species.

Surveys conducted in this district between November 2013 and December 2013 yielded in detecting the presence of this species from a subterranean cave near the type locality. The cave opening is very narrow and hence is inaccessible by humans to obtain a proper count of the individuals. Hipposideros hypophyllus was observed to share its roosting site with Hipposideros ater, Hipposideros fulvus and Hipposideros speoris as was detected by acoustic monitoring of the roosting site. The habitat near the cave is under severe threat due to on-going granite mining.

The project aims to develop species-specific conservation action plan through collection of scientific data on taxonomy, distribution, population status, ecology and threats. Conservation awareness workshops would be conducted for both the local stakeholders and the forest staff for the long-term monitoring and protection of this species.

The result of this study would enable re-evaluation of its IUCN Red List status, formulation of species-specific conservation action plans, habitat management plan and scientific database required for the inclusion of the species as ‘protected species’ under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act.

Project 13257645 location - India, Asia