Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is the North Western Province of Pakistan lying between 31° 15′ and 36°57′ North latitude and 69° 5′ and 74° 7′ East longitude. It covers a land area of 74,521 Km2. Great altitudinal range (174–7690 m) diverse temperatures (sub zero to 51°C) and varied rainfall (100–1200 mm) have given rise to a great diversity in habitat with an equally diverse fauna. The Province inhabits 100 species of mammals, 456 species of birds, 48 species of reptiles and 4500 species of plants. Chiroptera is one of the least studied mammalian order in KP. Tall hollow trees, old haunted buildings, inhospitable rock crevices and deep dark caves comprising critical bat habitat are perhaps a valid reason for limited research and studies on bats. Myths and bad omens associated with the nocturnal behavior of bats play an important role in keeping away the non-serious researchers. Literature search reveals that Chiroptera fauna of KP comprises of 4 families, 13 genera, and 29 species. These bats recorded in KP include fruit bats, mouse-tailed bats, vampire bats, horseshoe bats, leaf nosed bats, house bats, serotine bats and pipistrelle bats. This species diversity is a result of diversified habitat and the overlap of Oriental and Palearctic zoogeographic regions in the province. Conservation status of bats in KP is highly unsatisfying. A number of threats loom around bats. These include habitat loss, scarcity of food, slow rate of reproduction, and depredation by animals and birds, killing for medicine, high tension electric transmission lines, killing by fruit farmers, lack of awareness and absence of conducive conservation policy at Government level. The study recommends comprehensive bat research and surveys, habitat analysis, reconfirmation of bat taxonomy, development of bat call library and conservation awareness campaign. The Government of KP should conduct an analysis of the bat distribution, status and adapt a conservation and management policy for bats. The bats should accordingly be listed in the KP Wildlife Law 2015.
Part of the book: Bats