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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The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.