Rodrigues Fruit Bat
The Rodrigues fruit bat (Pteropus rodricensis) is an endangered species found only on the small island of Rodrigues in the southern Indian Ocean, 900 miles east of Madagascar. Previously uninhabited by humans, Rodrigues was discovered by Europeans in the mid-1600s. With humans came deforestation and domestic animals which preyed heavily on Rodrigues’ animals and plants.
In 1976 and 1979, a small number of bats were collected to found a captive breeding program as a hedge against possible extinction on Rodrigues. The population grew steadily and in 1982, Philadelphia Zoo joined the team of zoos breeding and exhibiting Rodrigues fruit bats.