Hot on the heels of the recent description of a new species of gibbon, based partly on work conducted in northeastern Cambodia’s Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area, a second new mammal species has been discovered at the site. Surveyors from Fauna & Flora International, the Hungarian Natural History Museum and the Royal University of Phnom Penh — funded by CI and supported in the field by our local research team — captured a new-to-science species of bat from the CI site.
The new bat species is described in the August issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. It has been named Walston’s tube-nosed bat (Murina walstoni) after wildlife conservationist Joe Walston.
“This is another great find from Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area,” said Ben Rawson, CI’s site manager. “We have been conducting broadscale biodiversity surveys at the site over the past two years which have included camera trapping and bird, otter, bear, loris, turtle and now bat surveys.”
The findings from the bat surveys bring the number of mammal species at the site to almost 60, with more research to be done on small mammal populations. “We are really pleased with the levels of mammal species richness we have found at the site,” Rawson said. “But what is so special about the area is that healthy populations of many of them still persist here, where in so many other locations declines have been significant.”
Working with international experts, research institutes, other NGOs and CI staff to conduct these surveys, local community members — not to mention Cambodia’s Forestry Administration —have learned valuable research skills. These skills may help to provide future employment . Moreover, data from these biodiversity surveys is now being compiled as part of documentation to request that the area be designated as a protected area.
Emmeline Johansen is the communications coordinator for CI-Cambodia.