Bono's Adventure - The Great Migration

Just in time for the 24th International Bat Night on August 29th and 30th, 2020, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of European Bat Populations (UNEP/EUROBATS) were publishing a children's book about the secret life of bats. The comic "Bono's Adventures: The Great Migration" provides entertaining scientific insights into the bats' way of life, their seasonal migrations, their navigation skills and their diet. The book also raises awareness of the dangers posed to these fascinating fluttering animals by the influence of humans.

The story of the bat comic is about three friends: the hare Bono, the mouse Jinny and the bat Otto. After their first adventure together in Africa, where they learned more about the desert animals of Namibia in the Leibniz-IZW's first children's book, they now find themselves in Europe. A big party is due to take place, but Otto's cousin Olga has not yet arrived. The three friends embark on an adventurous search, during which they also learn a lot about how science works. The story presents many exciting research results from the Leibniz-IZW in recent years.

The large seasonal migrations that many European bat species undertake play an important role in this: Every fall, they migrate long distances across Europe - from their summer roosts in the Baltic to the southwest, to their hibernation areas in Germany, France, the Benelux countries and Spain. The Leibniz-IZW has scientifically investigated how they orient themselves, what dangers they face on their journey and how they muster enough energy for the migration, and has now presented these findings in an understandable and inspiring way.

"Everyone knows Batman, but real knowledge about bats is not widespread," says Kathleen Röllig from Leibniz-IZW, who is responsible for the idea, concept and story of the children's book. "We want to convey research findings in an entertaining way and at the same time make it clear that this research is essential for the protection of wild animals in general and bats in particular."

"It is important that bats are protected in every part of their annual migration route. Unfortunately, many bats have accidents at wind turbines. In addition, they are finding fewer and fewer insects as food in the cleared agricultural landscape. We must continue to make efforts to ensure that bat populations do not decline, as all bat species are protected in Germany as well as throughout the EU and beyond; they are also covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals," say Christian Voigt (Leibniz-IZW) and Andreas Streit (UNEP/Eurobats).

"People should make more of an effort to find out more about you. Because you can only protect what you know," says Jinny the mouse at the end of the book. Bono laughs confidently and says: "I'll keep that in mind. I think people will do the right thing."

As part of its "Evolutionary research for conservation" mission, the Leibniz-IZW is investigating the diverse life cycles and adaptations that wild animals have developed over the course of evolution and is developing new concepts and methods for use in nature conservation.

The EUROBATS agreement for the conservation of European bat populations was concluded in 1991 to enable and promote cross-border conservation measures throughout the species' range. The main aim of the agreement is to provide member states and countries that have not yet joined with a guideline for cooperation with a common goal: the conservation of bats throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.


Bono's Adventures: The Great Migration
Idea, conzept und story: Kathleen Röllig
Illustrations: Steffen Gumpert
Scientific advice: Oliver Lindecke, Christian Voigt
Project lead: Miriam Brandt, Heribert Hofer

© 2021 by Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (Leibniz-IZW) im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V., Alfred-Kowalke-Strasse 17, 10315 Berlin
ISBN 978-3-9815-6379-5



Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Alfred-Kowalke-Straße 17, 10315 Berlin

Dr. Kathleen Röllig
Referentin für Wissens- und Technologietransfer
Tel: +49 30 51685122

PD Dr. Christian Voigt
Leiter der Abteilung für Evolutionäre Ökologie
Tel: +49 30 5168511

Jan Zwilling
Tel: +49 30 5168121

EUROBATS Sekretariat
UN Environment Programme
United Nations Campus
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn, Germany

Andreas Streit
Tel. +49 228 815 2420