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Field Story 1 : Story of Sangita Thapa

Hello, I’m Sangita Thapa, a graduate student of M.Sc. zoology at Tribhuvan University, Kritipur. As a part of my dissertation, I have visited the bat caves of Bhimad, Tanahu which is located near my residence. On, the 25th November 2017, I alongside Dr. Puspa Raj Acharya (currently working at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology), Sanjeev Baniya and Basant Sharma (an undergraduate student of B.Sc Forestry, Pokhara) visited Mohariya village of Bhimad for preliminary assessment of the caves. Previously, I have visited Mahendra cave, Gupteshore cave and Chamero gupha of Pokhara and that was the first time I got a chance to encounter with bats. Entering into dark cave with torch light and observing structures of caves full with bats roosting in it has always fascinated and made me curious about them. This time I got the chance to handle them in my hand. I felt obliged to study about them in a practical manner.

There were three caves where different colonies of bats were located. Altogether 8 specimens were captured using mist netting near the entrance of caves. The species were identified with the help of their taxonomic measurements and using the Bats of Nepal: A field guide. The measurements were taken using different tools like vernier caliper and spring balance. 3 specimens of fruit bat, Rousettus leschenaultia, 4 specimens of insectivorous bats, Rhinolophus affinis, Rhinolophus pusillus, Hipposideros armiger and Miniopterus schreibersii as well as one specimen of carnivorous bat Megaderma lyra were captured and studied.

Learning form Pushpa Raj Acharya

In this survey, I learned a lot of crucial things like bats should be handled with gentle hands and the most important thing is that you should wear a pair of thick gloves to prevent from bat bite which can be contagious as they are considered to be vectors of many diseases. Two stands are needed to put the mist net in desirable place where different loop of the net should be put very carefully either in up or down position in order to minimize entangle between the net sections. Mist net should be checked in every 10-15 minutes of time interval and bat must be removed as quickly as possible from the net otherwise bat will entangle more and it will be very hard to liberate.

Handling Megaderma lyra

This survey was very productive for me to learn more about bats which will be helpful in the future works and surveys. I’m very grateful to Nepal Bat Research and Conservation Union (NeBRCU) and all team members for proving me such precious field visit and guiding me the entire technique requisite for capturing a bat, handling them properly and identifying those using taxonomic measurements.

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