The status of bats on Curaçao

The bat population of the island of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, was surveyed in 1992 and 1993. The 1993 survey concentrated mostly on caves, which were found to host most of the bats. Glossophaga longirostris elongata was the most abundant species with fewer than 2000 individuals encountered. However, this species may also be found in small groups in buildings and caves that were not censused. More critical is the status of the other six species found on the island: Leptonycteris curasoae (800–1000), Mormoops megalophylla intermedia (570–650), Natalus tumidirostris (50–60), and three species for which the number of individuals is unknown and probably low: Myotis nesopolus, Pteronotus davyi and Noctilio leporinus. Three caves contain all of the above species, except N. leporinus, and should be actively protected. Two species expected to be present on Curaçao, Artibeus jamaicensis and Molossus pygmaeus, were not found. The apparent decrease in bat numbers this century is likely a result of uncontrolled cave disturbance and removal of resources through development. I propose that all species be considered endangered on the island of Curaçao, except for Glossophaga longirostris, which is threatened.

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