Aspects of the ecology of Noack’s roundleaf bat (Hipposideros Aff. Ruber) in Ghana

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2014-07-27
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The roost of bats in five caves in the central parts of Ghana were investigated. A total of 10,226 bats belonging to nine species were mist-netted within two years. There was a significant difference in species composition of the caves. The Noacks’s roundleaf bat, Hipposideros aff. ruber was found to be the most dominant species roosting inside the cave and some aspects of its ecology were further investigated. The flight activity of Hipposideros aff. ruber was limited to certain periods of the night at Kwamang cave one while it was uniform at Kwamang cave two. The estimated mean home range size of this species using radio-tracking was thirty-six hectares with a foraging range of 1.2 km. There was no significant difference in the home range sizes of the males and females. Hipposideros aff. ruber used 50% of its home range as the foraging area and 2% as the core area. Pregnant females had smaller home ranges and foraged not more than 0.2 km away from the roost cave. Hipposideros aff. ruber used all available habitats around its roost but strongly preferred to forage in fallow lands ahead of other habitats. This bat used tree farms such as cocoa as flight paths to commute between roost caves and foraging areas and exhibited a trimodal activity pattern foraging at dusk, midnight and dawn. Hipposideros aff. ruber is a strong flyer commuting over longer distances. A three kilometre radius around its roost should be included in the protection of its home range. In highly impacted agricultural landscapes, fallow lands are recommended as conservation units to support this bat. In such landscapes, provision of canopy trees as flight paths is recommended to allow them to commute between roost and habitats that support higher prey densities.
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Thesis submitted to the Graduate School, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (WILDLIFE AND RANGE MANAGEMENT). 2014
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