Happy Bat Appreciation Day!

Until I went back to university 4 years ago, I had only limited knowledge of the nature world. I watched nature documentaries, read the occasional article, maybe visited a zoo but I had no scientific knowledge or understanding of our natural world.

My first degree is in business and after graduating, went on to work in marketing and business development within the commercial world for the remainder of that career. This was a world in which I worked long hours, chased success, money and above all, I was programmed to win.  

When I decided to leave my business career and began the journey to become a scientist the one thing which struck me then, and now even more so, is that there is SO MUCH scientific knowledge out there about the natural world. Though conversely, the more we discover, the more questions are generated. It’s a never-ending process of investigation, results, conclusions and more questions – it takes my breath away.

There are thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands of people, across the world who have dedicated their scientific research and pursuit of knowledge to the conservation of bats. And with good reason too. These mammals are some of the most successful on earth and collectively bats account for nearly 20% of all mammal life. Each of the 1300+ species have their own nuanced lifecycles; morphological adaptations; feeding ecology; flight characteristics; echolocation signature calls, to name a few. Every single bat is valuable – they are essential to the ecosystems they inhabit.

Today my wins are very different. Winning in conservation is not the same as winning in business. Not least because a win in business feathers the nest of the executives that own the business and essentially money can only really secure you the basics in life; food, shelter, safety. A win in conservation helps to ensure the world is preserved for future generations. Our wins are sometimes small but the cumulative effect of all the scientists working towards a common goal is inspirational and worth more than anything money can buy.

Today on Bat Appreciation Day, I’m proud to be one of many, who are dedicated to communicating the value and importance of bats across the world.

Surveying in Calakmul, Mexico (July 2019). This is a Fridge-lipped Bat (Trachops cirrhosus). These bats are best known for hunting frogs and have pronounced bumps/little lumps across the top of their lips. This male weighed 28g with a forearm measurement of 55.7mm.

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