Protecting Kasanka’s fruit bats

Every year, approximately 10 million fruit bats make their way from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Zambia’s Kasanka National Park, where they take up residence in a small forest.

This is the largest mammal migration on earth, and seeing the fruit bats cover the sky at sundown is a unique Zambian experience. But the bats are under threat, and that could have dire consequences on the overall ecosystem in Kasanka.

According to a recent article on DW:”The fruit bats play an invaluable role in Kasanka National Park. . . for instance, they scatter seeds and pollinate blossoms. The fruit of the forest attracts animals, and if the forest were to disappear, it would be a deadly loss for them.”

The two biggest threats to the bats are poachers and habitat loss, which are often inherently linked: poachers often start fires in the forest to scare animals out into the open, and this destroys the forest. 

Environmentalists are trying to protect the bats’ habitat. One of their main tools is education. In communities surrounding the national park, protected wildlife is often still seen as a source of food, while many inhabitants, particularly children, fear the bats, as they can be carriers of ebola. 

Educational outreach programs are helping to increase awareness of the importance of preserving Kasanka’s incredible biodiversity for the benefit of locals and international visitors alike. 

Below is an informative short video about the park and its quest to protect the bats’ habitat, courtesy of DW.

If you’d like to know more about visiting the park, you can click here.