Rare bat population given 'manicures' so numbers can be counted
A group of one of the world’s rarest bats is being treated to pampering sessions, as experts use nail varnish to count their numbers.
Cuban greater funnel-eared bats are being given manicures as scientists try to measure how many of them still exist.
The creatures are confined to a cave in Western Cuba and in urgent need of conservation attention, international charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said.
Less than 750 of the bats remain in a single cave on the peninsula of Guanahacabibes, the preliminary results from the species’ first population estimates by ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme revealed.
Needing to identify individual bats, the researchers employed a low-tech but effective method for harmlessly marking the bats.
They used four different nail varnish colours to paint the bats’ “nails”, enabling them to create thousands of combinations for unique markings to identify each one.