KRUGER NATIONAL PARK’S BAT COLONIES SPOILED WITH NEW HOUSING
There is a constant need for roosting places for our nocturnal flying mammals in National Parks as they invade the thatched roofs of chalets where their guano causes unpleasant smells. Squirrels and bees often invade bat’s dwellings, therefore an ongoing need for newly installed box boxes is a necessity.
The bats are also useful in controlling the insect population, especially mosquitos in rest camps which may cause health hazards towards guests, as one bat can devour thousands of mosquitos in one evening.
Highveld region’s portfolio manager for bat boxes, dr. Burnie Biddulph, studied the most effective designs of bat boxes, formed a bat box engineering team within the region and commenced to build their own bat houses.
It is a drawn-out process to design and build the boxes from scratch, but the installation of the boxes on six-metre high stilts, was even more demanding. The first twenty custom-built bat boxes were erected in Berg & Dal rest camp, Crocodile Bridge rest camp as well as Crocodile Bridge staff village during 2017.
The project will gradually expand to other rest camps in KNP for the bats to flourish in a safe environment where they can be observed hunting at dusk and returning to their roosts at dawn.