Wildlife Acoustics Blog

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In the Field: Bat Conservation and Education in Rwanda

In the Field: Bat Conservation and Education in Rwanda

We love hearing about how our tools are being used around the world and we know that you do too. I recently asked Winifred Frick, Director of Conservation Science at Bat Conservation International to update us on their use of the Song Meter SM4BAT and Echo Meter Touch in Africa. Below is what she had to say about the beginnings of their recent effort in Rwanda: 

Dave Waldien (Sr. Director of Global Conservation at BCI) and I just returned from a week long trip to Rwanda where we met with key stakeholders to help initiate a bat conservation initiative at Nyungwe National Park using acoustic detectors to determine the population status of a critically endangered bat – the Hill’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hilli) that is an Albertine Rift Endemic and only known from a few historic records from Nyungwe National Park in southern Rwanda.  As the meeting was primarily an initial site visit to assess the feasibility of initiating a study in collaboration with local partners (including WCS and the Rwanda Development Board), we didn’t collect any data on this initial trip. Although we did bring the SM4BATs to show the local partners what the units look like and what they are capable of.  In addition, I gave a presentation and demonstration to students at the Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management.  

The students were all very interested in the Echo Meter Touch and echolocation analysis and eager for more information and more training opportunities.  We’re in the process now of writing some grant proposals to fund future work there and hoping to do a bat-blitz style training/workshop to help build an echolocation call library for Nyungwe to help facilitate bat research and conservation in the park.  Nyungwe National Park is one of the largest tracts of African montane rainforest left intact and a truly spectacular place.  The park was created in 2006 and is actively managed by both WCS and the Rwanda Development Board.  

We're partnering with ERM to provide bat acoustics training courses

We're partnering with ERM to provide bat acoustics training courses

We know that the demand for training courses is always high, so we are happy to announce that we are partnering with Environmental Resources Management to provide several bat acoustics training courses in 2017.

The first of these is a 3-day, hands-on bat acoustics and analysis training course. It's taking place from January 9-11, 2017 in Amherst, Massachusetts and immediately precedes the Northeast Bat Working Group meeting in the same location, making it convenient for those who are already planning to attend the meeting. 

The course will cover bat echolocation, data management, visual vetting, troubleshooting, and more. Participants will also learn how to use the Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM4BAT, Echo Meter Touch, and Kaleidoscope Pro software. 

In the Field: Mounting an SM4BAT mic using a telescoping feeder arm.

In the Field: Mounting an SM4BAT mic using a telescoping feeder arm.

The growing demand for conducting passive acoustic monitoring of bats allowed me, a self-employed bat specialist, to purchase five SM4BAT FS recorders. The choice of passive recorders and analysis software today was somewhat overwhelming, but because the SM4BAT recorders are fully weatherproof, have a decent deployment time, an option to be cable lock secured to a tree and of course the three year warranty length, the decision to choose SM4BAT recorders was a swift one.

Wildlife Acoustics is proud to support wildlife conservation efforts

Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation Orginization for Bat Conservation Bat Conservation International Bat Conservation Trust