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Gobabeb Research & Training Centre

Saving bats at DHPS

Gobabeb Research and Training Centre is currently the home of bat biologist and Masters student, Angela Curtis. As part of the regular intensive, environmental education programme run by Gobabeb, Angela talks to many visiting school groups about bats in an effort to raise awareness,

dispel myths and create an appreciation for these often maligned and misunderstood animals.

About six months after a visit to Gobabeb the German Private High School (DHPS) in Windhoek found that they had bats roosting in crevices between floors when the crevices were due to be sealed. The bats were in danger of being exterminated. Gisi Roxin, one of the teachers recalled the bat talk and contacted Angela. Together with Thomas Pompe, another teacher, and Michelle Stange, a dedicated lab technician, various solutions were discussed. The wood work class constructed and experimental bat house and all those involved attempted to catch the bats in a large enclosed bat net stuck to the roof with duct tape as they left the crevices. This was partially successful. Four were successfully netted while others managed to dodge past the net at the last minute. After checking that the crevices were empty they were plugged using newspaper so the bats were unable to return. All crevices on both floors were checked and sealed. The four captured bats were measured, weighed and relocated to the new bat house. The bats were identified as being Egyptian free-tailed bats (Tadarida aegyptiaca) from the family Molossidae. These are aerial hawking bats which catch prey on the wing at great speeds and forage in the open above the canopy.

The bat rescue operation became a theme for environmental education at the school.

Angela bats          Angela bat

Bats are the second most species rich order of mammals and play a very important role in the environment. Most bats in Windhoek are insectivorous and eat large numbers of insects. Anyone with a bat problem is welcome to contact Angela at Gobabeb for identification, advice and assistance in an attempt to find a safe solution.

Thanks to the dedicated staff of the DHPS for their care for the environment and their efforts to save the bats.

Angela bat 3

 Angela bat 4

 

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