Functionally Important of the Wrinkle-Lipped Free-Tailed Bat (Chaerephon plicatus) in Pest Control and its Guano Benefit for Local Community Livelihood in Cambodia
The wrinkle-lipped free-tailed bat (Chaerephon plicatus) is an insectivorous bat species that can form large colonies of thousands of bats and typically roost in caves. About 7 1arge colonies of C. plicatus inhabiting limestone caves in Cambodia that may represent 97% of national population. They are believed to play role in pest suppression that delivered economically essential in food security and poverty reduction. These bats also play crucial role for local livelihood in Cambodia, in which large quantities of guano produced by these cave colonies are harvested for plant fertilizer and selling to generate income. However, these bat populations generally forage close to roost sites and are threatened to decline due to habitat conversion (limestone extraction for cement manufacture), hunting for food, and pesticide residue since most caves are surrounded by agricultural fields.
With support from the Van Tienhoven Foundation, our project aims to determine economic benefits from bat guano harvesting and making available ecosystem service awareness of pest suppression provided by C. plicatus in seasonal variations in Cambodia. Our project goal is to promote the long-term conservation for this species through raising awareness and providing scientific data for decision makers. The specific objectives of our project are including of:
- identify food type (pest) remained in the fecal and compare average percentage/frequency for each food type consumed by C. plicatus between dry and wet season;
- determine guano harvesting and income generation for community;
- promoting public awareness for conservation of this species.