Media & Education
Volume 35, Issue 3, 2016
Bat biologists unite in South Africa!
In August, bat researchers from around the globe convened for the 17th International Bat Research Conference in Durban, South Africa. This triennial conference not only provides an opportunity for researchers to share and showcase the latest in research on all things bats—from fossil bats to conservation needs—but also provides valuable time for researchers from far-flung corners of the world to connect and discuss the global status and needs for protecting bats.
Student presentations on the first day of the conference inspired attendees with a wide variety of studies advancing what we know about bats—from the discovery that migratory pollinating bats can fly really far in a single night, to the best ways to protect cave-roosting bats in the Philippines.
Conservation was a major theme throughout the conference, covering topics from how the bush meat market is threatening bat populations in many parts of Asia and Africa, to the effects of climate change on bats. BCI Director of Wind Energy Program Cris Hein led an intense discussion (it was standing room only!) on the growing threats and solutions to wind energy turbines killing bats; while BCI Senior Director of Conservation Science Winfred Frick along with BCI Science Advisor Rodrigo Medellin helped run the session on the conservation needs of migratory bats. As our climate changes, water is becoming a precious resource for all animals, including bats. Scientists from around the world came together in sessions and workshops led by BCI Director of Public Lands Dan Taylor to explore the importance of water resources for bat conservation in arid landscapes.
The sharing of knowledge wasn’t restricted to just the conference. BCI is proud to have co-funded a multi-day capacity building workshop led by Bat Conservation Africa to help train 12 African researchers from 10 African countries.