The itinerary, part II

After having travelled through Oceania, Asia, North America, it’s time to head to Africa. 

Africa is tricky for bats because the problem of lack of research is especially true there. Fortunately, literature can actually be surprisingly easy to find. We’ll see how things go…

I’ll try to cover a few different regions / ecozones during my time there.

First stop, Madagascar, Africa’s biggest island. Its bat fauna is as unique as its lemurs (which I will also be looking for). I will do my very best to see the sucker-footed bats, Myzopodidae, a family endemic to Madagascar. 

Myzopoda aurita, a species endemic to Madagascar

I would have loved to visit the surrounding islands such as Comoros and Mauritius, especially with the culling issue the latter is facing (read more). However, timing is an issue here. I also visited the Seychelles a few months ago. You can find my trip report here.

Next up, Tanzania, a well known safari and bird watching destination, and batting should be equally good. I won’t be spending that much time there though, I’ll only be visiting Pemba and Mafia, two islands which both hold a special species of flying fox. Pteropus voeltzkowi is endemic to Pemba and an endemic subspecies of Pteropus seychellensis is present on Mafia.

After that, I’ll be spending two weeks in Kenya, looking for all the bats this amazing country has to offer. That is if I don’t get too distracted by the staggering birding there… My two targets are Yellow-winged Bat (Lavia frons, pictured) and Heart-nosed Bat (Cardioderma cor ).

Finally, South Africa. I’ll start with Kwazulu-Natal the entire time. When I was there in 2013, I really liked the diversity of habitats over short travel distances. I may visit Western Cape after that, to look for different bird and bat species. 

So, that’s Africa sorted. There are two continents left after that, Antarctica and South America. As the former doesn’t have any bats, I can focus solely on the latter.

However, because I’ll still be missing a number of bat species from the Western Palaearctic, I’ll be visiting Sardinia, Crete and Israel, along with trying to see all Belgian species! 

In South America, I will visit most of the large biomes: the Atlantic forest, the Amazon and Pantanal in Brazil, the Amazon in Peru, cloud forest in Ecuador and the rainforest in Costa Rica. 

All these countries have an incredible diversity of bats so I cannot really list all my targets here. One thing is certain though, I have to see all three species of Vampire bat! During my trip to Mexico in June/July, I got 2 of them, only one left, Diaemus youngi!

In Peru, I’ll be joining the Fauna Forever team. If you’re looking for a place to volunteer or to do research in the middle of the Amazon, look no further! I have no doubt my stay there will be an absolute blast! 

In Costa Rica, I will be one of the leaders of a bat bioblitz in Fiona Reid’s newly acquired property. If you want to join us, you are more than welcome! Contact Fiona for more details. I definitely intend to give this journey the end it deserves and meeting a bat bioblitz with like-minded people from all around the world definitely sounds like a suitable ending!! Of course, my main targets will be the “white bats”, Honduran White Bat (Ectophylla alba, pictured), Northen Ghost Bat (Diclidurus albus), etc

As a bonus, I will also be visiting Monteverde Bat Jungle. I am having a hard time to think of a better ending for this journey. To be honest, I don’t really want to think about its end right now…

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