We hosted our first two member workshops at the Cocobolo Nature Reserve in Panama March 12-27, 2018. Merlin Tuttle and Teresa Nichta partnered with Daniel Hargreaves, from the United Kingdom, his crew of experienced volunteers, Daniel Whitby and Steve and Fiona Parker, also from the U.K., and Melissa Donnelly from Canada. They provided invaluable leadership in nightly netting, keying and recording that included more than 600 bats of 53 species. Training included bat capture, handling, identification and record keeping by the U.K. crew and bat training, behavior, photography and conservation by Merlin. Thanks to Paula Tuttle and Teresa Nichta, logistics, blog reporting, and photography also went exceptionally well.
Sixteen participants enthusiastically improved their bat handling, photography, and conservation skills while providing the first major survey of the reserve’s bats and greatly aiding local staff in their knowledge of bats. All participants, and Michael Roy, the reserve founder, and director will receive Merlin’s photos of the 21 species he photographed, including a diverse array of portraits and behavior. Of course, participants also took many more of their own, greatly contributing to their ability to serve as ambassadors for bats. Thanks to the extreme dedication of all concerned, we were able to document the presence of more than half of the species known from the entire country!
We hope to provide these hands-on opportunities annually for our members while expanding knowledge of bats and their unique conservation requirements at locations of special need worldwide.