An ‘Introduction to bats’ course was held from 12-18 November 2018 at the Meletse Bat Research and Conservation Training Centre, near Thabazimbi, in South Africa. This allowed five participants from three countries (South Africa, Mozambique and Austria) to complete the prerequisite course before beginning the five week ‘Bat fieldworkers’ course. The introductory course provides basic information on bat biology and ecology, and in the evenings participants observed bat captures using mist nets and harp traps.
It was an eventful course as there were many veld fires, one of which threatened the training centre, and had us all on edge. Since the rains hadn’t started the veld was still dry, and most of the fires were started by lightning strikes. Storms also played havoc with the electricity supply and the usual mode of course presentation using a data projector proved challenging. Nevertheless solutions were found and all participants completed the course, as well as learning that in the field nature often dictates the course of action.
Financial support from the Rufford Foundation and Brevard Zoo allowed the course to be held, and Motjoli Resources have kindly allowed us continued use of facilities on their property for the Meletse Bat Research and Conservation Training Centre