Holy blog update, Batman!Someone recently asked why I’ve been writing less frequently, even when I’m in town (alas, I can’t access the internet when I’m in the field – it would be wonderful if I could!!). Well, there are a couple of reasons, one of which is that lately, I’ve been uncomfortable with the idea of who’s actually reading this. I don’t fancy acquaintances reading this blog (blogger meetups are such a bad idea). Malaysian bloggers on this side of the country have become such an incestuous, gossipy group and I don’t want any part of it.
I’m not keen about letting just anybody know about the wonderful things that are happening in my life right now. At the same time, I want to write about this wonderfulness for the other anonymous readership that I don’t mind, and especially for my friends who live a-far.
Maybe I can be rather annoying and talk vaguely about what’s happening in my life?
Exhibit A: Something that’s amazing and unexpected, and is responsible for the huge smile on my face. I am a bit afraid of writing more about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it. The only thing I can do right now is to take joy in the moment, and hope it all works out for the best (or rather, that I graciously accept that whatever happens, it’s for the best??).
Exhibit B: A possible out-of-this world opportunity: I had one of those “what-are-the-odds” prospects. But I still have to jump more hurdles before “claiming the prize”, so to speak. So we’d see. It’s such an awesome opportunity however – I’m crossing fingers, toes and eyes to hear from them again. If it doesn’t work out, no worries. I am certain that other doors would open. Life is so amazing that way. And believe me, if it does work out, I’m totally writing about it!!
Today was really interesting because we got to work on bats. The last time I obtained blood and tissue samples from an animal was a couple of years ago in Victoria, Australia where I worked on possums (so cute!), bush rats (not so cute, kinda really scary), and other Aussie wildlife. So today’s work was a really good exercise although we didn’t get a chance to actually withdraw blood or tissue from the bats ourselves. I’ve done some minimal work on bats last year and this was a good refresher course on how to sex and age the bats, along with taking measurements.
While sexing the bats, I couldn’t help but imagine an alternative universe where bats are prying our legs open to figure out what sex we are, and squeezing our tits to see if we’re lactating (ouch!!). Fieldwork can be quite bizarre sometimes.
Some bats died while being trapped in harp nets (they were attacked by ants), which made me very very sad. I have to admit, it takes a while getting used to watching a tissue sample being obtained from the live bat specimen (you basically punch a hole into the fragile wing membrane). And drawing blood from tiny insectivorous bats is much more difficult than you think. It’s easier to work on larger mammals, especially on rats. Maybe not so much on the Australian bush rat – it’s pretty ferocious. I feel overall, I rather work on non-intrusive field methods. I don’t like the idea of stressing out the wildlife, and if you have to, it ought to be for a very good reason. To a lot of researchers however, there’s more satisfaction in trapping an animal and taking measurements, and blood and tissue samples from it, than doing line transect surveys for example. And I’m not convinced that this data is used efficiently, or even adequately published. I feel that there needs to be a lot more monitoring on what goes on in wildlife research these days.
In an alternate universe somewhere, bats are wrecking havoc to the habitats of Homo sapiens, and doing bizarre experiments on this species. A lot of Homo sapiens have died unnecessarily when trapped by scientists. Some bats have taken up the cause to save the Homo sapiens but most bats are having none of it because frankly, Homo sapiens are kinda freaky looking (no wings!no fangs!) and have bizarre habits like being awake in the daytime or obsessing over American Idol. Some Asian bats claim that wildlife conservation is a Western bat agenda but that’s because the former are really stupid and irresponsible (it also shows how secretively intimidated they are of bats with different strokes). Wildlife conservation is an important issue that all bats should care about, no matter what kind of bat you are. Don’t be an ignorant, uncaring bat!