NeBRCU is now officially carrying out bats survey along Kaligandaki canyon from Kushma of Parbat district to Jomsom of Mustang. Me and my colleague Mr. Anoj Subedi from Institute of Forestry (IOF), Pokhara were sent off for preliminary assessment of the survey. After 10 days of hard work and endurance we have managed to discover some habitats for cave dwelling bats. Out of 16 discovered caves, only 11 were identified as suitable for bat roost whereas remaining 5 as disturbed and unused.
Recently our Chairperson Dr. Pushpa Raj Acharya and Executive board member Mr. Sanjeev Baniya joined to us for further surveying. With the help of Harp trap and Mist Net we have successfully captured 56 specimens of bats consisting 13 species profile. Hipposideros armiger (Hodgson, 1835) (Great Himalayan Leaf-nosed Bat) was found as a commonest bat in the area and roost in almost all identified caves. Hipposideros cineraceus (Blyth, 1853) (Least Leaf-nosed Bat), nationally Data Deficient, was recorded from Gupteshore cave of Kushma, Parbat and Tara cave of Ranipauwa, Myagdi. Miniopterus schreibersii (Kuhl, 1817) (Schreiber’s Long-fingered Bat/Bentwing Bat) (Near-threatened as per IUCN) was recorded from Alpeshore cave of Kushma and Parbati cave of Paang, Parbat. A colony (approx. 50 individuals) of Rousettus Leschenaulti (Desmarest, 1820) (Leschenault’s Rousette) nationally Near-threatened, was explored in the cave roost of near Ranipauwa, myagdi. One of tent making bat Cynopterus sphinx (Vahl, 1797) (Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat) was observed to roost in Parbati cave. C. sphinx roosting in a cave is a rare record from Nepal. Among all caves, Parbati cave is hosting a suitable habitat for almost 7 out of 13 species recorded during our first survey at Kaligandaki canyon.
Survey isn’t finished yet. Our team is now preparing for next phase of field work to capture some tree dwelling bats. We are hoping to boost our bat species diversity in the area.
It is my pleasure to express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Rufford Foundation, UK for granting a fund support for this project. I am grateful to our Chairperson Dr. Pushpa Raj Acharya for his continuous encouragement and professional guidance in Chiroptology. I would like to express my sincere thanks to cave management committee of Alpeshore cave, Parbati cave and Siddha cave for their support. Sanjeev Baniya, Anoj Subedi and Yubraj Sapkota for their valuable assistantship during field work. Narayan Subedi from Paang and Mohadatta subedi from Ranipauwa for arranging accommodation.