Bats have an essential role to play in the ecosystem of the tropical rainforest as predators, pollinators and seed dispersers. The study of this group is essential and their presence and population numbers can provide us with an excellent indicator of the health of the ecosystem. With an expert chiropterologist on site, we have been studying the bats of the reserve using mist nets in different stations around the reserve. Sampling has been performed from the ground level up to a height of 6m and every individual is photographed and bio-metric data taken before release. We have also designed pioneering methods to get mist nets higher up into the mid-canopy and tree tops and sample more elusive species. During the day we also walk the trails looking for bat roosting sites and nests. Very little is known about the life history of many tropical bat species and we are investigating factors such as preferred tree species for nesting, feeding habits and seasonal variations and population dynamics.
THIS IS A SEASONAL ACTIVITY
- Help the staff set the mist nets to be opened at night and catch bats. Help fill out the data sheet.
- Follow the staff in search of roosts and nests during the day.
- In Taricaya we have recorded 67 species of bats, 6% of all known species on the planet, which is big for our area making us true biodiversity hot spot for this group.
- Bats tend to have a bad reputation among local people because of the wrong idea that all bat are vampires (blood sucking animals as Dracula). This is totally far from the truth. Most bats eat fruit, insects or fish.
- Two species of fishing bat (Noctilio leporinus and N. albiventris) found in the reserve where part of a program researching mercury pollution from gold mining activities. Mercury levels in captured individuals was measured as they feed primarily on fish and are excellent indicators of the mercury levels in the environment reflecting levels of pollution.
- We work together with the Bat Conservation Program of Peru (PCMP for its initials in Spanish) to raise awareness about the importance of these animals for the ecosystems and to help people change the misconception of bats for their conservation.