The effect of tourist visits on the behavior of Rousettus madagascariensis (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in the caves of Ankarana, northern Madagascar

  • Published source details Cardiff S.G., Ratrimomanarivo F.H. & Goodman S.M. (2012) The effect of tourist visits on the behavior of Rousettus madagascariensis (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in the caves of Ankarana, northern Madagascar. Acta Chiropterologica, 14, 479-490.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Impose restrictions on cave visits

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Impose restrictions on cave visits

    A study in 2004–2005 in one cave in northern Madagascar (Cardiff et al 2012) found that increasing visitor approach distances, along with avoiding direct illumination of bats, reduced the alertness and number of take-offs of Madagascan rousettes Rousettus madagascariensis during tours. When visitors approached to 12–14 m and did not directly illuminate the bats, the proportion of alert bats (with eyes open; reported as eye-shine ratios) and the average number of take-offs was similar during tours (3 take-offs) compared to before (2 take-offs) and after (4 take-offs). Whereas when visitors approached to 5–6 m and shone headlamps on the bats, there were more alert bats and take-offs during tours (37 take-offs) than before or after (both 1 take-off). Approaching to 12–14 m with direct illumination and approaching to 5–6 m without direct illumination also resulted in more alert bats and/or take-offs during tours than before or after (see original paper for data). A colony of 2,500 Madagascan rousettes roosted in the cave, frequently visited by tourists. Experimental tours were carried out with three replicates of each of four treatment combinations. Groups of three visitors approached bats roosting on the cave wall to 5–6 m or 12–14 m and either directly illuminated bats for one minute (with three LED headlamps, total 4–8 lux) or shone headlamps downwards only. Bat behaviour was recorded with an infrared video camera for 15 minutes before, during and after each of the 12 experimental tours in June–July 2004 and July 2005.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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