Report by Lawrence Pope: President: Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc. Victoria

In a recent episode of David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet many of you will have seen the magnificent images of what is recognized as Africa’s largest wildlife migration of Straw Coloured Flying foxes (Eidolon helvum) to a tiny patch of forest in the Kasanka National Park in Zambia each year. Ten million bats congregate from across Africa to enjoy the fruiting of local trees in an area of only a few hectares.

Unfortunately 360,000 hectares of forest and bush within the Kafinda Game & Management Area is adjacent to the Kasanka National Park and represents a critical food resource for the bats, is now being degraded. Land-clearing by local chiefs and the Lake Agro Industries (Parent Company is Lake Oil Industries) is being undertaken for the expansion of a private hunting game ranch Gulf Adventures (Parent Company also Lake Oil Industries), and the establishment of a 7000 hectare wheat farm. Thousands of hectares of bush and forest have already been removed. The river supplying water to the wildlife rich area is also under threat from the proposed wheat farming “developments”. It is thought that a large percentage of the Luwombwa river may be used for irrigation and that it may even dry up from July to December each year.    See:

The ever-growing loss of forest in central Africa along with the killing of more than 100,000 bats each year for “bush meat” and the destruction of roosts across their range will see the end of this keystone pollinating species unless action is taken to increase their protection and reverse the loss of habitat.

The eradication of thousands of hectares of small trees by Gulf Adventures is to create “parkland effect” for hunting. Of course the widespread removal of trees means fewer food resources for the bats and all the other wildlife in the region. 

Please help save the Straw Coloured Flying fox and the Kasanka Park region by emailing the Zambian Embassy in Australia, Mr Frank Francis Bwalya, High Commissioner at

10 National Circuit
Barton, ACT 2600

Please also contact the Australian High Commission in Zimbabwe, Head of Mission, Ms Bronte Moules in Zimbabwe at

1 Green Close
Borrowdale, Harare,


Please ask the Zambian High Commissioner in Australia and the Australian Head of Mission in Zimbabwe (it covers Zambia) to use their offices to express the serious concerns of bat / wildlife conservationists in Australia to the authorities in Zambia and to Lake Oil Industries about the effect of deforestation on the survival of the Straw Coloured Fruit Bat. 

Remind them that the bats are 'engines of biodiversity' producing healthy ecosystems and ask them to help protect central Africa’s unique natural heritage and wildlife tourist drawcard from being further degraded. Call for the re-forestation of areas that have been recently destroyed.    

Photo credit: Merlin Tuttle

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