The first national conference of bat researchers in Colombia brought together more than 90 biologists and students in Bogotá to share data and experiences and coordinate future projects. The two-day session last year was supported in part by Bat Conservation International’s Global Grassroots Conservation Fund.
Fundación Chimbilako, the conservation group that organized the two-day session, described it as “a turning point for research groups across the country.” More than 20 universities, institutes and nonprofit organizations were represented. Speakers from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Bolivia described their latest research and conservation initiatives, while 15 short papers and 18 posters demonstrated the growing breadth of bat research in the nation. They also demonstrated the need for more research into the impacts of human activity on bat populations.
Participants agreed on the need for additional symposia every two to three years. They also created a Colombian bat-conservation program based on the experiences of similar programs in other countries. Fundación Chimbilako will develop the framework for the project, with an emphasis on workshops and community education.
Fundación Chimbilako was also charged with coordinating a national meeting with top bat researchers to set priorities for research and conservation needs throughout Colombia.