The last few weeks have been chaotic as we have been doing a large humane exclusion job of bats, from four different buildings. The humane exclusion part of work is something I am obviously not a huge fan though it is a better option than inhumane exclusions which often occur in places like Malawi. Human wildlife conflict is one of my main research interests and better understanding how the process of exclusion can impact on bats foraging and roosting is something I have been involved in for a few years now, since my masters thesis at Nottingham Trent University.
During a roost visit we attended recently, where sadly bats are coming into conflict with humans, is a local clinic on the outskirts of Lilongwe. The clinic has almost 1000 bats roosting in the building and sadly the clinic owners have taken off the ceiling boards in the hopes this would get rid of the bats, but it has instead just made the situation worse and now there is bat guano all over the floor and the clinic machinery. So, I head with some of my African Bat Conservation Team to do a roost visit and some community outreach work. We even have the village chief come through to see what was happening and we gave him a bat box in addition to some fun facts about bats!
Whilst we always try our best to get people to live alongside bats peacefully, in neither of these situations could we do that. We haven’t started at the clinic yet but of course human health is also a priority and there cannot be guano in a hospital setting.