Uncontrolled hunting’s have made it more and more difficult to find fruit bats (Pteropus vampyrus) in North Sumatra province, threfore, hunters here have expanded their activities in two neighboring provinces, Aceh and Riau.
The demand for fruit bat (locally known KALONG) is high due to a wrong information saying fruit bat meat can cure asthma. Until now there has not been any research proving that scientifically.
In Medan, fruit bat sale is rare currently but in Pancur Batu sub-district of Deli Serdang, there are still some shops selling fruit bats.
In a visit to the fruit bat markets in Pancur Batu on Thursday, investigator from the Indonesian Friends of the Animal (IFOTA) found several shops selling fruit bats. The IFOTA also found that transportation of fruit bats from Pancur Batu to Medan was done in a cruel way. A narrow transport cage of 100cm x 50cm x 50cm was filled in with 65 individuals of fruit bat. They were inside the narrow cages for about 6 hours before they were translocated from Pancur Batu to Medan.
“They will be picked by a buyer from Medan in the afternoon but we have to put them inside transport cage in the morning because it take time to collect and move them from display cage to transport cage,” said Mrs. Sembiring, the fruit bat seller.
Fruit bat is not in the list of protected species of Indonesia, but this species is listed in the IUCN red list with a status of "Near threatened." The Indonesian government conservation agencies and NGOs need to find a way to reduce fruit bat hunting and promote proper handling of wildlife transportation.