365 days, 195 countries, 1400 species of bats.

Now, that would be completely unrealistic but with unlimited resources, that would be the goal of the Big Bat Year. My more realistic expectations are far from dull in comparison though!

It all started when I read about Noah Strycker’s Big Year. Following a birdwatcher’s journey across the globe, looking for species most of us can only dream of.

Dreaming, that’s the key word here.

Over the course of the 5 years I volunteered for Natagora (Birdlife Partner in Belgium), a question I was repeatedly asked was “How do we involve young people in conservation?” and I was never able to come up with a compelling answer. Until now. The answer is: make them dream

As every Big Year, the goal is to try to see as many species of possible over the course of one calendar year. My playground? The World. However, I will be restricting myself to 29 countries. The target species? Bats. Hundreds of them.

You might be wondering how this relates to conservation. Well, big years are popular, the keenest birders amongst you will know that. For Noah’s 2015 and Arjan’s 2016 big years, they even managed to get the attention of the mainstream media.

That is a great opportunity to convey the importance of bat conservation to a large audience.

In other words, it is all about promoting bat conservation from a unique angle, here by giving bats a voice (one we can hear, without any special equipment this time).

My objectives

Bats still suffer from a bad reputation. To change that, I want to show everyone how important bats are. And how cute they are. 

Many species are still pretty much unknown to us beyond their original description. By making photographs and sound recordings, I hope to improve our knowledge of these lovely creatures. 

While international conservation efforts are important, threats such as habitat loss are fought locally. In many countries, local groups are already hard at work to help the bats. Their work deserves a spotlight!

Because we are the future of this planet. By helping children / young adults to understand the value of bats, not only can we increase our chances for a better future but they’ll spread the word to their elders too!

The Big Bat Year in numbers

Described bat species
Species seen so far
Countries left to visit

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