African Bat Conservation Summit: Establishing a Bat Conservation Network – 2013
Conservation professionals from throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and a team of global bat conservationists will come together next year to launch a bat-conservation network and begin planning a regional strategy for future action. The first African Bat Conservation Summit will be held February 10-16, 2013, in Naivasha, Kenya.
This new network will foster collaborative training programs and assist local, national and regional leaders in establishing sustainable bat-conservation initiatives across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa is home to more than 20 percent of the world's more than 1,250 bat species, which provide vital ecological services that benefit agriculture, forestry and public health. Despite such amazing – and invaluable – species diversity, bats are severely threatened by the disturbance of crucial roosts, loss of important water resources and, in some areas, by bush-meat hunting. Needless fears and misunderstandings also contribute to persecution and eradication.
This Summit, sponsored by Bat Conservation International, can lay the foundation for a new movement dedicated to reversing bat-population declines and increasing region-wide knowledge and concern for species that are too often overlooked in favor of Africa's "charismatic mega-fauna."
Attendance at the Summit is by invitation only. However, it is just the first step toward a sustained bat-conservation initiative that spans the continent. There will be many options in the future to become an active partner in conserving the bats of Africa.
We are in the process of establishing a Facebook site and a webpage to share information with conservationists and the public about the Summit and its results, and about becoming involved with the new bat-conservation network. In the meantime, please visit www.batcon.org for general information and periodic updates.
We are very excited to take this initial step toward safeguarding Africa's bat species, and we look forward to working together to meet the many challenges that lie ahead.
Dave Waldien, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Director
Bat Conservation International
Paul Racey, Ph.D. (University of Aberdeen; United Kingdom)
Paul Webala, Ph.D. (Karatina University College; Kenya)
Ara Monadjem, Ph.D. (University of Swaziland; Swaziland)
Jakob Fahr, Ph.D. (University of Braunschweig; Germany),
Cullen Geiselman, Ph.D. (BCI Board of Directors, United States)
Julie Hanta (Madagasikara Voakajy; Madagascar)