The straw-coloured fruit bat is facing serious threat from hunting and destruction its habitat. There are obvious hunting activities of the bats, and active habitat degradation around identified roost sites on the Jos plateau in northern Nigeria. Personal communication with locals of communities around the identified roosts suggests that populations of the bats have greatly declined at their roosts over the years. Even though hunting and habitat destruction are the observable threats here, there is no scientific information on the roost site characteristics, local perception of the bats and the levels of the threats they are facing.
We believe that people’s perception and attitude are major factors determining the hunting threat to this species, while ignorance of its enormous ecological importance may be influencing the obvious clearing of bushes and felling of trees around the identified roosts on the Jos plateau. Understanding these factors is important for informing conservation action for the species.
This project aims to conduct a community-based conservation education to create awareness of the ecological importance of straw-coloured fruit bats, and to positively change people’s perception and attitude towards the conservation of their age long roosts.
The project will be three-phased; a scientific/ecological survey, social survey and an awareness campaign. In the first phase, we will assess the sites and determine the population size of the bats and the level of ecological threats facing them. The second phase will involve social survey through questionnaire administration to assess the perception of locals towards bats, and finally in the third phase, we will carry out a conservation and awareness campaign to foster community engagement in conserving the species.
We hope that at the end of the project, people will appreciate, to a great extent, importance of bats, and direct their effort towards preserving them.