According to Ernest Seamark, CEO of AfricanBats NPC, bats make up a quarter of the mammalian diversity on the planet. South Africa is home to approximately 72 bat species of which more than 25% occur in urban areas. However, the positive role that bats play in our ecosystem is poorly understood by most people. Bats are also susceptible to environmental change and are vulnerable to increased levels of pesticides.
Bat species that eat insects are primary nocturnal predators. Researchers have found that they can play a significant role in reducing the costs of pest control in Macadamia nut plantations as well as other agricultural industries. Fruit-eating bats on the other hand are critical for forest regeneration and at least one of the iconic tree species found in South Africa.
Through this initiative, members of the 80 branches of SA Hunters that are distributed throughout South Africa will be encouraged to participate in structured bat conservation initiatives lead by experts from AfricanBats NPC. Areas identified for collaboration further include raising public awareness on bats, mapping and surveying bats, as well as facilitating research on bats.
According to the manager conservation of SA Hunters, Lizanne Nel, the signing of this agreement between SA Hunters and AfricanBats NPC is the first in a series of initiatives planned by the organisation to improve its impact on conservation.
Lizanne Nel, Conservation Manager of SA Hunters and Ernest Seamark, CEO of AfricanBatsNPC signed an agreement on 17 January as part of the SA Hunters Working Wild Program to collaborate on bat conservation