Northumberland zoo welcomes world’s third captive population of endangered 'mega-bat' species

The captive populations of the rare Livingstone fruit Bat are shared across just three zoos across the world in Jersey, France and Northumberland. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

Zookeepers at Northumberland Zoo hope the public will "fall in love" with endangered bat species after welcoming the world's third captive population to the North East.

The "mega-bat' species - otherwise known as the Livingstone’s Fruit Bat - is thought to be endangered due to the effects of global warming.

There are thought be only 1,200 in the wild and 98 in captivity.

These rare captive populations are shared across just three zoos across the world in Jersey, France and Northumberland.

Northumberland zookeeper Maxine Bradley said: “It’s a massive responsibility for us but we are so privileged and super proud to have been accepted into this breeding programme.

“We now have the second captive breeding population in the world with the hopes of actually breeding these bats here in northumberland.”

The purpose-built, sustainable facility where the flying mammals are homed took three years to be completed.

The species is the world’s third largest bat variety and needs plenty of room due to their impressive 1.4 metre wing span.

The enclosure also has to be kept warm to mimic the animals natural habitat.

The Livingstone’s Fruit Bats originate from just two small islands that form part of the Republic of Comoros in the Indian Ocean, northwest of Madagascar. 

Ms Bradley added: “They are super impressive and I don't think people will have used to seeing bats like this before. 

“They’ve got such adorable puppy-like faces with big Mickey Mouse ears, so I just want people to fall in love with them and really care about the conservation of this really rare species.”

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