10 Dec 2021
Mapping Roosting Habitats of Straw-Coloured (Eidolon helvum) Fruit Bats in Kigali City and Rwamagana District and Enhancing their Conservation
Restoring Roost Sites for Straw-Coloured Fruit Bats Eidolon Helvum and Changing Negative Public Perceptions about Bats in Kigali and Neighboring Cities, Rwanda
This project intends to promote bat conservation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic while restoring and protecting habitats for the keystone Eidelon helvum commonly known as straw-coloured fruit bats in Kigali and Rwamagana District-Rwanda. This will be achieved through applying deliberate and correct communication messages that emphasize the benefits, importance and critical ecosystem roles played by bats rather than focusing on the grim image that is always attributed to bats as reservoirs of deadly viruses and other pathogens. The activities will comprise of workshops, training and outreach programs that will be offered to different stakeholders with the purpose of raising awareness of straw-coloured fruit bats conservation in urban and rural areas.
During this project, we shall engage and educate members of the media sector about the invaluable benefits of bats to the environment/humans and will greatly create awareness about the necessity and urgency of bat conservation. Also, journalists will be equipped with evidence-based information that will help in dispelling myths, superstitions and folklore that imperil bat conservation. The bat conservation information will emphasize on different topics that foster bat conservation, namely the basic biology of bats, ecosystem services provided by bats, socio-economical and cultural importance of bats, bats and diseases, how to live safely with bats (disease prevention), threats faced by bats and the best practices and interventions that promote bat conservation. Equally important, interventions aimed at promoting bat habitat protection and restoration will be given priority in order to ensure sustainability of bat conservation in these areas (Kigali and Rwamagana). The project activities will also involve restoring straw-coloured fruit bats’ roost sites through planting fast growing indigenous trees. The restored and protected roost sites will serve as refuge for this keystone species and trained community members, members of the media and the Bat Champions will serve as active defenders of the bats and their critical roost habitats from their localities.