Me, Amelia, Keiran and Rebecca all get on well! We are the four Masters students here at the moment and all doing different projects on bats. There are also three French vet students doing mini projects, as well as the African Bat Conservation staff. Of course there is also the Carnivore Research Malawi team, so camp is really lively which is fun! It has been fab getting out to also take part in the Biodiversity Monitoring Projects with the ABC Team and getting more practice on mist net extraction as I would like to further my skills so I can get my Class 3 licence back in England. Taking fruit bats out is a little bit more tricky than the smaller bats as not only are they heavier but their mouths are bigger too!
Amelia is also super excited to get to handle her first fruit bat. They are cute but I think I prefer the micro bats. By day, myself and Amelia have been doing door to door surveys to try and identify more roosts with White bellied free tailed bats roosting so that we can collect data on their roosting preferences. We have to be even more careful when doing roost here as the loft spaces are bit more challenging than the ones back home, health and safety is a lot more relaxed over here. It is surprising how many people do let us into their homes to search for bats, I cannot imagine people back in the UK being so welcoming to strangers knocking on their doors!
Kieran is doing the same but on the Mauritian tomb bats here in Lilongwe, a species which Amelia discovered here in the City whilst doing our research in 2017! Rebecca is looking into parasite load of bats and I am radio tracking the White bellied free tailed bats to see how exclusion affects their foraging ecology. I am radio tracking them before and after the exclusion process to see if there is any difference in home range size and preferred foraging grounds.