Country People – Meet Megan Loftie-Eaton, who is batty for bats and find out why you should be too.

Meet Dr. Megan Loftie-Eaton

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Limpopo Province, South Africa, but moved around a lot as a kid! From Louis Trichardt, to England, to Stellenbosch, to Cananda, even the Klein Karoo and now I find myself in the wonderful lowveld bush ,Hoedspruit. My earliest childhood memories are of camping trips to the bush and spending time on my grandfather’s farm in Zimbabwe. I definitely inherited my need for adventure and urge to explore the unknown from my parents. They encouraged my curiosity for the natural world and nurtured my love for the great outdoors since I can remember. Sport has also always been a big part of my life. I started swimming competitively at the age of nine and kept at it for the next 12 years, but eventually I chose to focus my energy on my bigger passion in life, that of wildlife conservation. Swimming taught me many life lessons though which I will forever be grateful for. I have always kept active and in the last three years I have taken to trail running. I absolutely love it! Being out in nature, running in the most breath-taking areas makes my heart sing. I feel a strong sense of duty to do whatever I can to help and protect nature, and to plant the seeds of caring for nature in other people’s hearts too.  

I obtained my PhD in Biological Sciences through the University of Cape Town in December 2018. My research looked at the impacts of bush encroachment on bird distributions in the savannah biome of South Africa. Prior to that I completed an MSc in Zoology (UCT) and a BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences through the University of Alberta in Canada. I also have a FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) Level One Nature Guide Qualification which I obtained through Ulovane Environmental Training in 2013.

Where are you currently based and what work do you do?

Currently I am the communications, social media and citizen science coordinator for the Biodiversity and Development Institute. Prior to my work for the BDI, I coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. I also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. I am super passionate about biodiversity conservation and a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation. 

I do some part time work for the Hoedspruit Hub too. The Hub is an agricultural skills training centre, an AgriSETA accredited one-stop-shop for commercial farmers’ training and local community development and upliftment. The Hub is a social enterprise, and endeavours to maximise positive environmental and social impacts alongside profit for their stakeholders. They aim to increase the resilience of commercial farming enterprises in South Africa.

You will soon be running for bats tell us about that and why bats?

I’m combining my love for nature and wildlife with my love of trail running. I’ve decided to run the Karkloof 50 Miler on 21 September 2019 in support of bat conservation. Bats around the world play vital ecological roles that support ecosystem health and human economies. Many bat species consume vast amounts of insects, including some of the most damaging agricultural pests. Bats are farmers’ friends! Other bats pollinate many valuable plants, ensuring the production of fruits (like bananas, mangoes and coffee) that support local economies, as well as diverse animal populations. Bats are vitally important to the survival of forests too! We certainly have a lot to be grateful for because of the existence of bats.

‘Bats are the unsung heroes of nature, often misunderstood and feared, they play a vital role in keeping ecosystems healthy. From pollination to seed dispersal to keeping insect populations in check, we have bats to thank for all that!’

How can people contribute and follow your journey?

I am batty enough to run 50 miles for bat conservation and to raise awareness about these incredible flying mammals. But I need your help! Please show love for bats by helping me raise funds for ReWild NPC and the amazing work they do to rescue and protect bats (follow the link here https://www.givengain.com/ap/running-batty-for-bats/). ReWild NPC is a local wildlife rehabilitation centre based in Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province, South Africa. They help wildlife that have been injured or orphaned and, when they are ready, return them to the wild. But they do far more than this! They specialize in bat rehabilitation, they also work hard to educate the public on the importance of bats, they help with human-bat conflict resolution, they help farmers to use bats to control crop pests, they make bat houses and apply many other bat conservation measures. 

Please help me to help bats by donating crucial funds to ReWild NPC via my fundraising campaign at

https://www.givengain.com/ap/running-batty-for-bats/ 

You can also follow Megan on Instagram at @sunrise_seeker 

  5 comments for “Country People – Meet Megan Loftie-Eaton, who is batty for bats and find out why you should be too.

  1. September 11, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Wat ‘n oulike vrou en sy doen wonderlike werk!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. September 20, 2019 at 12:14 am

    I love this post! I remember taking a weekend in Austin, TX, where thousands of people wait on a bridge to watch 25,000 bats fly out at dusk every night to go get their supper. Best bug control ever! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 20, 2019 at 4:40 am

      Thank you Jennifer! That sounds amazing. I love bats and I think it is important to change people’s perception about them. Such awesome little creatures. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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