Zambia’s National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan identified “inadequate biodiversity trend data” and “lack of capacity” as serious issues limiting the country’s ability to prioritize biodiversity investment and implement conservation strategies.
Bats account for an estimated 31 per cent of Zambian mammalian biodiversity and provide valuable ecosystem services, but their elusive behaviour and challenge of identifying cryptic species make them difficult to study. As a result, our understanding of bat distribution and ecology is poor compared to that for other taxa.
This project seeks to expand and improve data on Zambian Chiroptera in several areas. Morphological examination and molecular analysis will improve species identifications for about 500 specimens. The project team will collate and cross-reference more than 900 records from other museums and previous research against existing GBIF-mediated data and prepare occurrence records from around 1,000 pre-existing and verified bat acoustic calls.
Enhancing the baseline data for this important mammalian order will inform and improve the work of researchers and policy-makers responsible for research conservation strategies, priorities and management plans in Zambia.