The 5th AfricanBats Bat Fieldworker’s course, in addition to providing students with training in bat handling and research procedures, marked the launch of the Miniopterus on the Move project and the first PIT tagging session of the migratory Natal Long-fingered Bat (Miniopterus natalensis). One tray containing 100 MiniHPT8 PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags, two tagging guns and a handheld scanner, purchased by AfricanBats, arrived in South Africa on Friday 24 November.
Before we could start the tagging procedures, we prepared a table with everything that we would need, with items ranging from paper towel, a plastic syringe with water for the bats and the all-important Biomark tagging equipment.
This session was all about putting methodologies from the literature into practice. For better visibility, we tagged bats early morning, using individuals captured for the morning body measurement processing. We focused our tagging on male and non-lactating females only. Avoiding lactating females as they would be nursing young. Ernest and I worked closely together, as one person would hold and tag the bat whilst the other provided an extra set of hands passing along pieces of cotton wool or paper towel.
Apart form this session being our very first attempt, we managed to successfully tag 27 individuals, which were all happy to fly back to their cave after their ordeal.