Zoologists take interest in rare bat species of Arunachal

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Ruksin, February 7: The report of discovery of small sized colourful bat species at Ralung village in East Siang district recently drew special attention of the State Forest Research Institute (SFRI).

SFRI will be reporting the existence of the important bat species to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for publication in its journal.

The Forest Zoologist of SFRI, after morphological study of the dense orange coloured winged species, has identified the Painted Bat (Kerivoula picta) and affirmed that it was a newly discovered in the fauna of Arunachal Pradesh. The discovery of the bat species has given an input to local zoologists and amateur naturalists about existence of rare bat species in Arunachal forests.

The rare bat species belongs to Chiroptera group was discovered in Rombo hillsite near Gutin Reserve Forest under Pasighat (T) forest division. Toni Pertin, a young school boy encountered with the dense small bat near a natural bamboo groove, which was caught by him and handed over to this correspondent.

The bat has scarlet fur and black and orange wings and it is said to be a vesper bat in the Vespertilionidae family and Chiroptera order. The specimen was later handed over to SFRI Museum in Itanagar for further study and research communication, news agency The Arunachal Times reported.

Senior Forest Zoologist of State Forest Research Institute (SFRI), Dr Asham Borang, who is enthusiastic on the discovery of the rare bat species in Arunachal forests, said that presence of Painted Bat was not traced for first time in the state.

According to him, presence of the bat species was reported in Sikkim in Eastern Himalaya and Orissa during 1863 and later it was reported from Lakhimpur (North-Assam) in 1969, which was published in the journal of Indian Science & Technology, Kanpur (Vol-7, B).

‘’We are all set to report presence of Painted Bat in Arunachal forests to BNHS for highlight and conducting reference study and research communication. We will also seek project support from the society for systematic study on bat species found in the Himalayan stat’’, Dr Borang informed.

The report of tracing a rare bat species in East Siang is also attracted attention of the forest department. The Assistant Conservator of Forest (Pasighat), Boken Pao has visited the Rombo hillsite.

Meanwhile, Divisional Forest Officer (T) of Pasighat has instructed the department officials to keep strict vigil on Rombo hillsite and Gutin RF and take step to make the local villagers aware on conservation of bio-diversity of the area.

An assistant professor of Zoology in Rajiv Gandhi University, Dr Daniel Mize is also putting interest to the newly reported colourful bat species. He is all set to conduct a special study on different bat species in the State and explore their habitats at various altitudes.

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