We are in Trinidad working with Trinibats, co-founded by Trinidad-born naturalist, Geoffrey Gomes, who first contacted Merlin in 2009 for advice on how to convince his government to remove bats from its vermin list. Inspired with new insights, Geoffrey has since become a self-taught, enthusiastic bat man. He is now the leading expert on bats of Trinidad and has recently published a book, The Bats of Trinidad and Tobago, co-authored by talented bat artist, Fiona Reid. According to Merlin, it is one of the finest books on bats yet written.
In 2010 Geoffrey teamed up with another self-taught bat expert, Daniel Hargreaves, from the UK to co-found Trinibats. Together, they have organized annual bat research trips. Volunteers trained in bat research techniques are contributing greatly to knowledge of Trinidadian bats. Aided by radio-tracking and bushwhacking through dense tropical forest, they’re making lots of new discoveries regarding the roosting needs of bats, knowledge essential to conserving Trinidad’s bats.
This year we were invited to join them for a rare opportunity to photograph a wide variety of bats. We are accompanied by Teresa Nichta, our assistant at MTBC who will take lots of video on this trip. Last week’s group captured, recorded and released 38 of Trinidad’s 68 species. We hope to top that on this trip!
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Trinidadian journalist, Shereen Ali for The Guardian T&T, one of Trinidad’s two leading newspapers, joined us for an evening of bat work, providing an extraordinary account of our conservation work and the value of bats. She reminds us that “If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious, juicy mango, or sweet local bananas, crunchy cashews, sapodillas, sugar apples, or creamy home-grown breadfruit meals, remember to thank the bats.”