First African Bat Conservation Summit
Preserving Ecosystem Services & Species Diversity
Bat Conservation International, along with a dedicated set of partners, is launching an exciting initiative in Africa – a continent where the tremendous ecosystem services provided by bats are too often ignored in the desire to protect the "charismatic megafauna." Bats provide benefits impacting everything from public health and agricultural production to forest regrowth and native plant pollination. Meanwhile, bat populations continue to decline throughout Africa.
The kickoff for our initiative will be the first-ever African Bat Conservation Summit: Establishing a Bat Conservation Network – 2013, to be held in Naivasha, Kenya, during the week of February 10-16, 2013.
We believe this meeting will forever change the face of bat conservation in Africa by helping to launch a Sub-Saharan African Bat Conservation Network. Here's how Dr. Bruce Patterson of The Field Museum in Chicago, USA, sees the significance of this moment for bat conservation:
"I really believe that Africa is on the cusp that Latin America was 15-20 years ago, when Rodrigo Medellin, Luis Aguirre, Jesus Molinari, Ruben Barquez, Victor Pacheco, et al returned home with overseas training and international standards. Very exciting to witness such watershed moments in science!"
The Summit is being organized by BCI and a multinational Steering Committee composed of global bat conservation experts and prominent bat conservationists from Africa. We have 39 confirmed participants representing 18 African countries! Our current list of sponsors includes the Beneficia Foundation, the Woodtiger Fund, the Rufford Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and The Field Museum.
While the significance of the Summit cannot be over emphasized, it is but the first step in establishing a unified, proactive and sustainable bat conservation movement in Sub-Saharan Africa. Direct conservation action will follow the summit as BCI will be working with these leaders to identify and launch significant campaigns:
- To protect critical forest habitats for the migratory straw-colored fruit bat and other species;
- To protect important cave and mine roosts;
- To reduce the hunting of bats for food; and
- To increase the awareness and appreciation of bats' importance among decision-makers, resource managers and the public.
Please join BCI in securing the future of Africa's bats and the many benefits they provide to humans.