The BatThai Team www.batthai.com drove us out of Bangkok in their plush minivan on a 5-hr. journey to Northeast Thailand. Daniel Hargreaves from the UK is leading us on this trip to the Painted Bat Village. It’s in this “sticky rice” growing area that four generations of the Peung family are doing whatever they can to protect one of the world’s most beautiful bats: Kerivoula picta, commonly known as the butterfly or painted bat.
P’ Yai Sachitt, 68 years of age, remembers a time, in his childhood when painted bats lived in the forest. Now very little of the forest remains, having been cleared for rice paddies. The bats apparently adapted by roosting in dead banana leaves of plants grown on the perimeter of rice paddies. Typically a family of three bats, a male, female and pup, live together under cover of a single dead leaf. One of the ways these farmers help the bats is by pinching the mid ribs of banana leaves so the outer part of the leaf dies. And that’s where the bats roost.
Chasing dogs, chickens and ducks out of the way in order to set up our photo studio was an adventure for my next report.