by Mark Sisson article “The biggest change that has come in our lives, the biggest change is how we interact with the world.”
This is the line from the new documentary Black Bird, which chronicles the journey of two bats biologists in South Africa.
They were invited to attend the first ever bats conference in the country, the World Conservation Congress in Johannesburg.
This was in 2012.
The conference was attended by representatives from more than 100 bat species, and it was an amazing opportunity to talk with the species’ leading experts.
We were also invited to visit bat sanctuaries across the country to learn about their conservation efforts.
This time, the focus was on conservation, but not necessarily from a bat perspective.
The conversation centered on bats as an ecosystem.
“We need to take bats seriously as an animal that exists on our planet and that’s a part of our ecosystem,” said Chris Maben, one of the co-authors of Black Bird.
“If we take bats literally and not as a part as we’re taught in science class, then the whole system collapses.”
Bats have a lot to teach us about the value of conservation and how to do that.
There’s a lot of research out there about what they do in terms of biodiversity, and how they’re being managed, and what the impacts are of habitat loss and fragmentation, Mabent said.
“They’ve become the second or third most important species in the world.
It’s a shame that they’re often overlooked when it comes to conservation.”
“The best conservationists, I think, understand the importance of bats as part of the ecosystem.
And I think they are going to do their best to take them seriously.””
They’re the most endangered bird in the whole world, they’re the one species of bird that hasn’t been protected, and we’re not talking about being in the top 10 percent of endangered birds,” Mabents co-author and wildlife ecologist Simon Jevons said.
Mabenson is a senior research scientist at the Australian Institute of Science in Melbourne and Jevson is a PhD student at the University of Queensland.
Mabsons and Jovons are currently at the forefront of research on bat conservation.
Mapping and studying bat populations in Australia and South Africa is their focus.
“There’s a massive gap between what we know about bats and what we really know about biodiversity,” Mabsen said.
“We need a much broader view of bats and conservation to understand what’s going on, what we’re trying to do, and where we are on the map,” Jevmans said.
Jevsons and Mabson say they see bats as a natural extension of their work.
“The world is changing, but we’re still seeing the same basic species in our landscapes,” Jovmans said, adding that bats have an ecological advantage because they’re relatively easy to spot.
“It’s one of those things that you’re always thinking, ‘why do I see bats?’ but I don’t know how to tell you.
But they are so rare, so they’re so hard to see.
I mean, if I didn’t know any better, I would just say, ‘it’s a big white-tailed bat.'”
The researchers are hoping that more and more bats will join their research projects.
“Bats are just a really amazing thing to have in the conservation world,” Mablons said, “and they’re very important.
There are so many conservation issues that we’re facing today, and they’re not the only ones.”
The documentary Black Birds is available on Vimeo and is available for streaming.
It will also be available on Apple and Google platforms on November 19, and on Amazon Prime Video on November 22.