BATMAN: New Bat Species Named After WCS Conservationist
“Walston’s tube-nosed bat” named after WCS Executive Director for Asia Program’s Joe Walston
Walston recognized for his contribution to bat research and biodiversity in Vietnam and Cambodia
WCS headquarters are based at the Bronx Zoo
NEW YORK (October 25, 2011) – Call him Batman. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Director for Asia Programs Joe Walston has received an honor befitting of the Caped Crusader himself – a new species of bat has been named after him.
In honor of Walston’s work to save bats and other wildlife in Southeast Asia, a group of scientists have dubbed the newly discovered bat species Murina walstoni, or Walston’s tube-nosed bat.
The researchers, Csorba Gabor of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Nguyen Truong Son of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Ith Saveng of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and Neil Furey of Flora and Fauna International describe the new species, along with two other new bats, in a recent issue of the Journal of Mammology.
Scientists discovered the small brown-and-white bat during surveys in the Van Sai Protected Forests in northeastern Cambodia. Little is known about Southeast Asia’s tube-nosed bats, so named for their extraordinary nostrils. Several new species have been described in recent years.
Joe Walston began studying bats in Vietnam in 1994. In 2000, he found a critically endangered bat species in Cambodia that had only been caught once before – in 1912 from a cave in India nearly 2,000 miles away. He has been director for WCS’s Asia programs since 2010.
“I am flattered and humbled to have this extremely rare species named after me,” said Walston, who worked in Cambodia for eight years. “Important research like this confirms the richness of the region for biodiversity and increases the urgency to protect wild places while there is still time.”
WCS operates 500 field conservation projects in 60 countries.
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