Komodo’s fly-by: the Sunda flying fox

Fruit bats near Rinca island in Indonesia

In the early evenings, when Dunia Baru is anchored near Rinca island for the night, there’s a very good chance you’ll be treated to this spectacle as thousands upon thousands of fruit bats leave mangrove-surrounded Pulau Kuaba, a small island in the Komodo archipelago, and head into the night in search of food.

According to the website Ecology Asia, it’s likely that these bats are the Sunda flying fox, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are endemic to Indonesia. Sunda flying foxes roots in coastal areas, often among fig trees – which means they have a food source close at hand.

The bats leave Pulau Kuaba slowly at first – perhaps two or three at a time – and then the flow of the creatures heading out for the night becomes more and more constant, until they seem to fill the entire sky.

Sunda flying foxes near Rinca island in Indonesia

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