Join us in our Webcast studio or on the Web as we talk
to the London Natural History Museum's curator Richard
Harbord and photographer Frank Greenaway in Belize.
Richard, who curates the Natural History Museum's
mammal collection, and Frank, who's been involved in
bat conservation for decades, will be in Belize for
three weeks to examine and identify bats living near
the museum's Las Cuevas
This is Richard's first "field trip," and
we'll learn from him the challenges of identifying live
animals in the field. Richard will help catch the bats,
and we'll ask him to share the techniques he's developed
for capturing and photographing these elusive creatures.
There are probably about seventy species of bats in
the Las Cuevas area. Different species use different
parts of the forest, from tiny round-winged bats that
can move easily through the undergrowth, to bats that
hunt over water, to those that pursue prey near the
treetops. By setting their nets in different parts of
the forest structure, Richard and Frank will be able
to capture a variety of species.
The bat is an ancient mammal that probably evolved
from an insectivore that fed on flying insects—it's
the only mammal adapted for flight—and it hasn't
changed much in millions of years. But because bats'
lives are so separate from ours, there's still much
to be learned about them.