ABC assist local school with bat roost!
This month the ABC team visited Mlambe Primary School outside Liwonde National Park to help with a bat roost in the walls of their classroom. The roost turned out to include two species of free-tailed bats, also known as ‘bulldog bats’ because of their wrinkled upper lip!
The colony of over 40 Angolan (Mops condylurus) and the White-bellied (Mops niveiventer) free-tailed bats have been roosting in the primary school walls for nearly one year. This is the first capture of the White-belled free-tailed that ABC has had in Malawi, and a first for the Liwonde area. We are now working with the school to minimise the impact the bats are having on the lessons by blocking their inside access but still allowing the colony to live in the wall and access the space from the outside. The team are also creating bat leaflets for the staff and the school children in Chichewa and will return to give a lesson on bats and how having them living in their school is beneficial to reducing mosquito and insect pest numbers.
Satemwa bats and farms projects final harvest!
The bats and farms research experiment at Satemwa tea and coffee estate in Thyolo district is being wrapped up by our bat researchers as the final harvest takes place. The project would not have been possible without our 12 dedicated harvesters and guards. We are looking to roll this experiment out to more crops over the next year.
Liwonde camp new build complete!
The Bat and Carnivore teams based at Mvuu camp in Liwonde NP are now fully moved in to the new office/kitchen/bathroom/laboratory block!
Many thanks are due to the fantastic staff at Mvuu who built the block and helped us move.
The extra space and electricity access will make living and working much more enjoyable for both teams of staff and volunteers. This has also meant that the old office tent is now a designated male-volunteer sleeping quarters.
Get in touch for more information on joining the team at Liwonde!
new ABC Researcher
We say a sad goodbye to our Research Assistant Catherine, who helped to set up the bats and farms research at Satemwa tea and coffee estate, and for the past month led the bat surveying in Liwonde NP. All the ABC team wish Catherine the best in her future research work!
But we welcome Matt Town, who has already been carrying on the research in Satemwa for 8 weeks and is about to relocate to Liwonde to lead the hot dry season bat surveying.
New building for the research teams in Liwonde NP
The research teams at Liwonde National Park will soon have a brand new office/laboratory, kitchen and bathrooms on site at Mvuu Camp, thanks to our host CAWS! The new build will be ready to move into by mid August, and has been built to improve facilities for both the ABC team and the Carnivore Research Malawi team. This will also free up more sleeping space for volunteers.
Bats and Roads: Dr Stone's chapter in new handbook
A new book, the Handbook of Road Ecology, provides solutions to wildlife and infrastructure issues, ensuring that if adopted, the future transportation networks can achieve economic growth while avoiding or minimising the negative ecological and environmental outcomes.
Our founder, Dr Emma Stone, has coauthored chapter 34: Bats and Roads This book is available free to all practitioners from developing countries. Apply here.
Yet another new bat species recorded!
ABC have discovered another new bat species to Malawi!
The roost of approx. 51 individual Lissonycteris bats was found in Huntingdon House, on the Satemwa tea and coffee Estate in the highlands of Malawi in April.
The bats had been known to the house for decades, but only since ABC started the research on the estate have they been confirmed to be a Lissonycteris species. Until DNA results are confirmed, we’re not yet sure if the species is L. angolensis, the Angolian soft-furred fruit bat, or L. goliath, Harrison’s soft-furred fruit bat.
L. angolensis is known to have a range across the Central African rainforests and it is predicted to occur in Northern Malawi, but not as far south as the Highlands.
L. goliath is only known to occur in the highlands of eastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique, and nothing is known about its roosting habits. This species is categorised as ‘vulnerable’ because of its small range.
The males of both these soft-furred fruit bats have glands on the throat giving the hairs a sticky feel. Male fruit bats usually these glands to mark out their territory by rubbing branches with the strong musky scent produced by them. A dominant male may also use this scent to anoint females that share his roosting or feeding territory, to deter other males from mating with them.
Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for news of the DNA results to confirm the species! (updated 13/07/2015)
Research assistant required!
We are currently recruiting for a Research Asssitant who will be responsible for conducting field research at our research base under the supervision of Dr Emma Stone.
If you are interested then download an application pack and also an application form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
ABC records a new bat species for malawi!
After commencing the standardised trapping surveys in ernest, the ABC team have quickly discovered a new bat species for Malawi. The beautiful White-bellied house bat (Scotophilus leucogaster).
To date only recorded in northern south Africa, southern Mozambique, southern Zimbabwe, and a separate population in Northern Zimbabwe, Central Mozambique, and Southern Zambia. We are now conducting specific studies to find out more about the distribution, roosting and foraging ecology of this species in Malawi.
Go ABC, more to come surely. (updated 11/09/2014)
(pictured left to compare size and colour to S. viridis
Fruit bats galore in Liwonde
We are lucky enough to be catching plenty of fruit bats here in Liwonde, inlcuding some Little epauletted fruit bats. There are plenty around bat camp most evenings, making surveys much easier!
Survey at Kuti Wildlife Reserve reveals stunning little freetailed bats!
We spent a night sampling at kuti wildlife reserve near Salima in Malawi. We had a successfull night catching little freetailed bats which were
roosting in the main reception building at Kuti.
These bats were stunning having white armpits and transparent wings! We caught five bats in total, by hand and harp trap.
Samples of droppings were taken for genetics
analysis by MSc Student Isabel from Copenhagen University, to identify thier diet.
We will be conducting many more surveys at Kuti in the future so watch this space.
ABC has a new Facebook page!
You can now keep up to date with project activities and progress on our new Facebook page.
Find us on Facebook and 'like' our page.
New African Bat Network Launched
African bat researchers and conservationists joined together February 15 to create Bat Conservation Africa, an network dedicated to
conserving bats throughout the vast continent.
Bat Conservation Africa was launched by 30 bat specialists from 19 African
nations during the first African Bat Conservation Summit in Naivasha, Kenya.
here to read the press release.
New African Bat Book
A new book on African bats has been published. Bats of Southern and Central Africa (2010) is authored by African bat experts Ara Mondajem, Peter Taylor, Woody Cotterill, and Corrie Schoeman. It includes
chapters on the evolution, biogeography, ecology and echolocation of bats, and provides accounts for the 116 bat species known to occur in southern and central Africa.
Pick up your copy here.