Zoo Outreach Organization &
Wildlife Information Liaison Development


Training in Field Techniques for survey of Volant and Non-Volant Small Mammals Conservation workshop

Nepal Staff Administrative College, Kathmandu and
Institute of Forestry, Pokhara Nepal, 19-24 June 2007

Sponsored by Chester Zoo, Bat Conservation International and Knowsley Safari Park

A six-day hands-on training in Field techniques for survey of Volant and Non-Volant small mammals was conducted at Nepal Staff Administrative College, Kathmandu and Institute of Forestry Pokhara,  Nepal from 19-24 June 2007.   The training programme was organized by Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore/CBSG South Asia and its networks CCINSA and RILSCINSA hosted by Nature, Kathmandu and Bats Friends, Pokhara, Nepal. 

The programme was organized in such a way that the introduction and basic aspect of the small mammal study was covered at Kathmandu, at the State Administrative Staff College, Jawalakhal from 19-21 June 2007, while the second part of the programme was an intensive field training for selected field researchers organized at the campus of the Institute of Forestry, Pokhara from 22-24 June 2007. At Jawalakhal 42 participants including 37 students/ researchers from Nepal, two from Bangladesh, one each from India, Pakistan and Scotland attended it and 16 selected participants from the above attended the intensive training at Pokhara.  The resource persons, Prof. Paul Racey from Aberdeen University, Dr. Mike Jordon, Curator of Higher vertebrates, Chester Zoo and Dr. Sripathi  Kandula from Madurai Kamaraj University and also the Scientific chair of CCINSA handled both class room and field sessions. The programme was made possible with the general financial support of Bat Conservation International, Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park, UK. 

Day 1.  19 June 2007
The programme started with a simple inaugural which was attended by senior teachers and heads of the Zoology Department of Tribhuvan University.  Paul and Mike gave a detailed introduction to Volant and Non-Volant small mammals.  In the subsequent lectures they introduced standard techniques in inventory and monitoring teachniques and sampling methodologies.  In the late after noon the participants set 40 traps in the campus for rodents and late in the evening spread one net for batting. 

Day 2. 20 June 2007
The day started with observation of rodent traps.  On the second day many shrews were caught.  Mike Jordan demonstrated the handling methods and explained sexing and identification.  In the class room session survey methods of Volant and non-volant mammals were discussed.  Sripathi Kandula spoke about four different research work that is being carried about by the researchers at Madurai Kamaraj university.  Leaf selection and tent construction by Cynopterus sphinx, deposition of masticated plant materials in the tent roosts of Cynopterus sphinx; dispersal pattern and solitary adult males in a polygynous mating bat, Cynopterus sphinx are some of the topics he covered.  Paul also covered a topic on ethics of bat trapping and marking techniques  before going for field work.   In the evening traps were checked and 5 mist nets were set at the Central Zoo Campus.  Seven bats belonging to two species were caught at the zoo campus.  After examining the bats the second day of the workshop ended at 9.15 pm.  (SPECIES LIST GIVEN BELOW)

Day 3.  21 June
The day started with examining rodents and insectivores.  The trapped rodents were examined.  The participants were given a chance to handle the animal.  After examining the animals it was released back in the wild.   After tea, Dr. Will Tuladhar-Douglas gave a guest lecture on Ethnoecology, smallish mammals, and Nepal.  He spoke about the practice of using bats as food and medicine.  He gave the species that are used as food and medicine in different parts of the world.  After this a demo using ZOO Bat packet was carried out.  Later Paul, Mike and Sripathi answered to the questions of all participants.  After evaluation of the workshop the group set out for Pokhara in a bus.  Reached Pokhara at 10.00 pm

Day 4. 22 June 07
The Dean of the Institute of forestry was invited to give a brief about the training programme.  After setting the traps for rodents and insectivores at the campus, the group went to World Peace Cave which is about 20km drive from the campus and 15 minutes walk.  Four species of Bat were caught.  After examining them the group reached the campus and continued with the rodent examination.  Later in the evening 4 mist nets were set to trap bats.  The caught bats were examined and identified.

Day 5 23 June 07
The day stared with observation of traps for rodents and insectivores.  The caught rodents were examined.  After tea the group left for Pandit Chowk to observe Indian Flying fox's roost. After lunch the group went out to Birendra Cave which is about an hour drive plus 5 minute walk. The cave is situated in front of Putli Cave.  Two bat species were caught and examined.  After returning to the campus traps were examined and fresh baits were placed and netted for bats and examined.  

Day 6. 24 June 2007
Follow up of Rodents – a total of 26 bats belonging to 5 species were caught and examined. 

The day started with Rodent trap observation and examined.  In the class room session follow up Bats, rodents and insectivores was conducted by Paul and Mike.  Paul summarized the workshop events.  He listed the species caught and examined:

During the workshop the following 5 species of bats were caught and examined

Hipposiderous armiger
Rhinolophus affinis
Miniopterus sp.
Pipistrellus coromandara
Rousettus egypeti

Apart from this the roosts of Pteropus giganteus was examined and counting techniques were tried. 

Follow up Rodents and insectivores  - A total of 30 rodents were trapped and examined. 

Four species of rodents were trapped and examined during the workshop
Suncus murinus  --  most of them weighed 50 gms.  In global it is 30-150 gms.  A study was suggested to know why they weigh around 50 gms. 
Bandicuta bengalensis  learned to do identification.  Three in Kathmandu but not in Pokhara.  It weighed 320 gms. 
Mus cookie – 2 specimens of females were examined. 
Rattus rattus (tanezumi).  Rattus rattus is normally referred to oceanic species. 
Rattus tanezumi is for this region

We looked in to marking methods, simple fur clipping, ear tags and a variety of simple handling equipments.

The workshop ended with the simple valedictory.