Bat ensembles in Casanare-Colombia; structure, compostion and environmental education to control vampire bats.

Sergio Estrada-Villegas, Beatriz Ramírez

Abstract


Colombia is known for its high bat richness, however its regions have not been equally sampled. Thus, regions like the Orinoquía, are understudied and their bat fauna are poorly known. Here we present results from seven biodiversity assessments in Casanare, Colombia, a department totally circumscribed within Orinoquía. We captured 1116 individuals, from 51 species and 5 families, been Desmodus rotundus, species from the genus Carollia and species from the genus Artibeus the most abundant ones among sites. We also captured elusive species such as Lampronycteris brachyotis and Sphaeronycteris toxophyllum. In general, sites with some sort of conservation scheme, lower in elevation and towards the southwest tended to be richer and more abundant than sites without conservation schemes, higher in elevation and towards the northeast of our sampling area. This southwest-northeast site distribution follows a precipitation gradient, which might explain bat composition between sites. This information, and the high abundance of vampire bats, encouraged us to team up with the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario ICA and Equión Energía Limited, an oil company in Casanare, to design and execute environmental educational workshops to empower local communities to control vampire populations and protect the environmental services that bats provide. 59 farmers, out of 86 that were trained, are now certified to control vampire populations within their counties. Finally, we discuss our species list in light of others that have been published and present the first analysis of ensemble structure for the bats of Casanare using true diversities.


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