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Go Batty In Pemba and Save a Creepy-looking Animal
When you read a story about wildlife these days, the news is usually bad. As the human population swells on this planet, animal species are increasingly pushed to the brink of extinction by poaching, habitat loss, and pollution. That's why it's refreshing to hear some good news on the animal front every once in a while. A nifty item on msnbc.com points out that a huge, scary-looking bat on the Tanzanian island of Pemba has made an amazing recovery in recent years, after being reduced to just a handful of specimens in 1989. Today, thanks to two new forest reserves - and the local population's growing distaste for roasted bat - the Pemba flying fox is back, with conservationists estimating that between 22,000 and 37,000 animals are currently making a home on this picturesque island on the northern end of the Zanzibar archipelago. Island residents hope that the big bats, which can have a wingspan of nearly six feet, will lure eco-tourists from the safari camps on the mainland. We're not sure how anxious travelers will be to get up close and personal with critters like these, but it's nice to see that ugly animals are finally getting some protection. After all, why should cuddly koalas get all the conservation funds? Fortunately, visitors to the island these days will find plenty to do beside bat-watching, from a tour of a clove plantation (this is a Spice Island, after all) to a sail among the barrier islands on a dhow.