Bats in Ghana

batSince I was a little girl, I have been interested in bats. I’m not sure exactly why, but it seems they are animals that do everything “the other way” – sleep in the day, fly around at night, snuggle comfortably upside-down, eat either BLOOD or was it fruit? – and that is all interesting, don’t you think?

Fast forward to 2004 when I visited Ghana for the first time and saw something strange in the trees around 37 military hospital, smack in the middle of Accra. Was it not …? I was told about the fruit bat colony that lives there, presumably waiting for a king – with the bat as his symbol – who was rushed to the hospital and never came out again…During the day, trees in the area are clad with what looks like brown fruits, but around sunset those “fruits” come alive and the sky turns grey by all the bats that take to the sky! It is an amazing sight!

A few years back, I met someone working on documenting bats and their life for a tourism project and I though, yes, that would be nice! Bat safari! Learning more about these puzzling creatures! Climbing trees! Hanging upside down with tourists! But alas, nothing has happened and bats are not, as far as I know, contributing to Ghana’s GDP in any significant way.

Last week, bats resurfaced in Ghana’s foremost newspaper the Daily Graphic in a lengthy article by James Agyei-Ohemeng and it was even suggested:  Bats are Ghana’s best-kept wildlife secret! Apparently they are also crucial for the health of Ghana’s forests (and timber, so I take back the GDP comment!) and a research project is currently underway in Sunyani!

Pic borrowed from susano.tripod.com.

Today’s Best Email

In the name of research, I am sharing this email I just found in my inbox with you!

Subject: Do you know caves with bats?

Dear All,

If you know locations of bat caves you could help a research team in Kumasi
and earn some money, see file attached.

BAT CAVES
REWARD FOR INFORMATION
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from Ghana and Germany
have established a research program into bat ecology and human
health. We will be happy if you could provide us with information
about caves with bats in high numbers in Ghana.
A reward of GH¢30 will be provided for new information on cave
locations that we then decide we can use in our study.
We require information on:
• location
• size of cave
• whether bats use the caves and their number if known
Please contact Prof. Samuel Oppong on 0322 060 381 or 0244
535 692 or email heather.baldwin@uni-ulm.de.

Thank you for
your assistance!