12 Dec 2011

Bat hunting ban to stay in American Samoa

9:08 am on 12 December 2011

Officials in American Samoa say the ban on hunting bats will not be lifted, despite the appearance they are plentiful.

The director of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources Ufagafa Ray Tulafono, says the most recent estimate put the number of fruit bats at about 15,000 and says they would have to reach about 21,000 before hunting would be allowed.

There are two species of bat in American Samoa, one of which, the samoensis, is less than one-thousand in number.

Ufagafa says if hunting was to resume the concern is that the endangered species would be put at risk.

"If we're going to allow hunting they cannot distinct between samoensis and tonganus so that's our great fear right now, they might bring the samoensis to the number that we cannot be able to recover."