Saving Harrison’s Giant Mastiff Bat at Mt Suswa Conservancy, Kenya

Please vote to make this project happen: VOTE NOW

Background: Mt Suswa is a spectacular mountain with a unique double crater system in Kenya's Rift Valley. Each year, it has >10,000 safari visitors, who come for hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and cave exploration.

 

Mt Suswa is also home to wide range of increasingly threatened wildlife including lions, leopards, hyaenas, giraffes and bats.

 

This project is about conserving the highly vulnerable, charismatic Harrison's Giant Mastiff Bat, which has maternal colonies in the caves of Mt Suswa. This species, Otomops harrisoni, was named in 2015 in honour of our very own David Harrison.

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Project Aim: The project will work with the Mt Suswa Conservancy, which is an indigenous organisation that manages over 5,000 ha.

 

Through community engagement, it will  safeguard montane forest habitat and cave roosts for bats and other wildlife by:

  • restoring degraded forest areas 

  • incentivising local people through promoting local ownership of ecotourism

  • educating local people about the positive benefits of bats for ecosystem health.

 

It will promote enhanced visitor experience by:

  • training local guides (women and men)

  • promoting and facilitating sustainable ecotourism practices.

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Project team: The project is led by Dr Paul Webala, a global expert on bats, and a senior lecturer in wildlife biology at the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Maasai Mara University, Kenya. Paul is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Harrison Institute.

Paul's team includes local Kenyan scientists, students, and conservationists. His international team is headed by Dr Dave Waldien (USA) and supported by Dr Paul Bates (UK), both of whom have extensive experience of bat research and community-led conservation worldwide.

 

Within Mt Suswa, the project will be working with:

  • Mt Suswa Conservancy

  • Community leaders and elders 

  • Local administration and the Narok County Environment Committee

  • Local schools

  • The project area's vibrant women and youth groups

  • Community scouts and guides.

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Your support will help us to:

  1. safeguard the integrity of Mt Suswa's montane forests

  2. improve livelihoods of local communities

  3. enhance adventure and visitor experience for outdoor enthusiasts

  4. sustain all local bat populations in the project area, including the conservation-dependent, vulnerable and charismatic Harrison's Giant Mastiff Bat

  5. provide training and capacity building in bat conservation for Kenyan students.

Please help support African bats and VOTE NOW to make this project happen. 

Saving Harrison's Giant Mastiff Bat at Mt Suswa Conservancy, Kenya