Rwanda: Critically endangered bats’ species found

A critically endangered bat species was discovered in Rwanda after being last sighted 40 years ago, and it was located in Byungwe Forest.

The “great” discovery seems to have delighted conservationists, who feared it was already extinct. 

Bat Conservation International has led this discovery, first found the pair of Hills’s Horshoe Bats in a cave in 2019, but it took three years just to identify that it was the species. 

As there had been no information on the population of these mammals, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had listed them as critically endangered in 2021. 

“AFTER 40 YEARS, WE’VE REDISCOVERED HILL’S HORSESHOE BAT (𝘙𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘶𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪), A “LOST SPECIES” THOUGHT TO HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN EXTINCT,” said, Rhinolophus hilli. 

The bat, determined by what is described as “comical” facial features, had been feared extinct and was listed as critically endangered last year.

The park ‘Nyungwe park‘ rangers have installed detectors now in which they ‘eavesdrop’ on the nightly flights of the bats. The dense Rwandan rainforest is also home to endangered mountain gorillas. 

According to the statement of ‘Jon Flanders’ director of Bat Conservation International (BCI), rediscovering the lost species “was fantastic. It’s astonishing to think that we’re the first people to see this bat in so long.” 

Bat Conservation International, Tweeted “Volume up to hear the first-ever recording of the Hill’s horseshoe bat (𝘙𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘶𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪) echolocation call. This recording was taken during our expedition to find the “lost” species. Which had only been seen twice, last in 1981.”

Dr Jon Flanders, Bat Conservation International “AFTER 40 YEARS, WE’VE REDISCOVERED HILL’S HORSESHOE BAT (𝘙𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘶𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪), A “LOST SPECIES” THOUGHT TO HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN EXTINCT.”

To hold surveys in the jungle in 2013, the Texas-based non-profit had partnered with the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association.

After a 10-day trip exploring the caves in the forest, the scientists found the bat in 2019. 

According to BCI’S chief scientist Winifred Frick, the bats we captured are not common bats. It is unusual and remarkable; the facial features of the bats were exaggerated to the point of comical.

However, this took another three years to verify the species.