Zambia’s Great Bat Migration

 

If asked what was the world’s largest mammal migration, most people would probably guess the annual migration of wildebeest across the plains of the Masai Mara. And they’d be wrong…

Fruit bats roosting.
Fruit bats roosting during the daylight hours.

 

Every year between October and December, up to ten million fruit bats make the journey from all over central Africa to the Kasanka National Park in Zambia in what is the world’s largest mammal migration. The bats come to the area to feast on the ripening fruits of the fertile valley and usually stay for around six weeks.

Being nocturnal animals, early morning sees a flurry of activity in the African skies as the bats return to roost before sunrise. Once roosting, the animals are extremely difficult to see so it is highly recommended that you join one of the early morning guided walk safaris.

The bats play a highly important role in the ecological system of the area. By coming to feast on all the delicious fruits on offer, and then returning home, the bats unwittingly distribute tree seeds throughout their journey. It is estimated that the bats are responsible for as much as 60% of the seed dispersal of African rain forest trees. How many other animals can say that about their excrement?

Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.
Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.

 

Watch the video here to see just what makes the annual migration such a special occurrence.

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