A frequent traveller browsing the tourist shops and markets of Southeast Asia and East Asia will invariably be introduced to many bats, although very dead and mounted. How are such bats collected in the wild and in what numbers? What is the volume of internet trade involving such souvenirs? The harvest of bats for the mounted souvenir trade involves no less than 10 species and the most iconic species used in the souvenir market is the woolly painted bat (Kerivoula picta) – a small bat prized for its bizarre colours. The continued harvest of this species and others could be detrimental to their wild populations, exacerbated by other threats such as habitat loss and disturbance.
My personal interest in the wildlife trade prompted me to write a short communication with a few SEABCRU members after a trip to south Vietnam last year to highlight the sale of bat souvenirs and the urgent need to investigate its sustainability. The article can be read here:
Benjamin P. Y-H. Lee, Matthew J. Struebig, Stephen J. Rossiter and Tigga Kingston (2015). Increasing concern over trade in bat souvenirs from South-east Asia. Oryx 49(2): 204.