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Tats for bats started in 2016 and was the first tattoo tour of its kind. It is a great initiative to raise money and create awareness for bat conservation across the globe through tattoos, merchandise, the tats for Bats coloring-in book, bat art, and donations. The first tour in 2016 was called “The Bat Outta Hell tour” Busta Boltoon and his team managed to do 45 “Battoos” and sell over 35 pieces of artwork, raising R20 000 for bat conservation in South Africa. The tour was such a success that Busta decided to make it an annual event and renamed it “Tats for Bats”. Busta’s third annual tour has just kicked off and we decided to catch up with the Batman to find out more.
What made you decide on Bat Conservation and how did this all start?
I have been obsessed with bats ever since I can remember, and I have always been a traveler at heart. I came up with the concept when I realised that society usually has a negative attitude towards bats and tattoos. My goal was to change this perception of both. Create awareness for the importance of bats for our environment and make people see that tattoos are an amazing form of art and creativity. There have been huge campaigns to help other forms of wildlife conservation, but everyone forgets about the little guys.
Do you have any Battoos?
Of course, I have more battoos than anything else. About 32 that I can see. Haha
What are your goals for this tour?
The goals for this year’s tour are to help raise money for The Bat Interest Group of KZN, which is a volunteer-based organization that has been around for over 20 years. Bats KZN needs money for food, medication, vets bills, rehabilitation of injured bats and educating the public via online media and physical visits to schools.
More info on the Tats for Bats beneficiary
The Bat Interest Group of KwaZulu-Natal is based in Durban, South Africa. Bats KZN is a non-profit organization run by volunteers that aim to:
Bat Interest Group of KZN
The Bat Interest Group of KwaZulu-Natal, formerly the Durban Bat Interest Group and commonly known as Bats KZN, was started in 1994 and is the oldest bat group in Southern Africa.
Run entirely by volunteers and funded by subscriptions and donations from members of the public, the group aims to conserve the bats of KwaZulu-Natal through education and research
Active "bat workers" undertake two to three hundred activities every year including talks to schools and other interested groups, advising homeowners on how to deal with bats on their properties, monitoring of bat roosts, scientific surveys and rehabilitation of injured bats.
What are your favourite species of Bat?
I love big bats so mine would have to be the giant flying foxes which live in the Philippines and have a wingspan of up to 1.7m. They also have cute, puppy-like faces and are fruit eaters, making them very important in pollinating and seed dispersal of fruit trees.
People have called you Batman, how do you feel about that?
Being a nocturnal creature of the night, fighting for what is right, I am honored to be known as Batman. Haha
Can you tell us something about Bats that we don’t know?
Well for all the tequila fans out there, without bats to pollinate the flowers of the blue agave plant, there would be no Tequila.
1 small insect-eating bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in one night, so just imagine what a whole colony can do. This is extremely valuable in the fight against Malaria.
Join Busta in his fight to help those that cannot help themselves; the little guys.
Get a Battoo
There will be a selection of artwork for you to choose from at a tattoo studio near you, or you can bring your own Battoo or get a custom piece designed for you.
You can find the designs on the Tats for Bats social media page, participating studio social media pages, and in the exclusive Tats for Bats BAT- alogue of tattoo designs as well as in Tats for Bats colouring-in book.
Tats for Bats can be found at these studios on the following dates:
20 April – Trademark Tattoos, Florida Road
21 April – Electric Tattoo Lounge, Margate
26- 28 April – Pretoria Tattoo Show
3 May – Voodoo Ink, Centurion
4 May – Humdinger Tattoo Emporium
5 May – True Blue Tattoo
11 May – Good Things Tattoo, Salt River
12 May – Skullbox, Milnerton
17 May – Metal Machine, CPT CBD
18 May – Body Architects, Cape Town
19 May – Sins of Style, Cape Town
23 May – Otherworld Tattoo
1 June – Royal Ink, Edenvale
2 June – Rising Dragon, Fourways
8 June – Empire Tattoos, Fairlands
9 June – Tattoo Hub, Alberton
Get a bat-ologue
There is a whole lot of awesome bat artwork in a colouring ink book for you to get creative with. Books are R200 and come with colour pencils. All merchandise is available at participating studios or you can order it from Tats for Bats Facebook page
Get the T-Shirt
Tats for bats merchandise is available on the Tattoo Addict Website for sale, simply follow the link below.
Hoodies are R540
Tees are R280
Or don’t get the Battoo
Of course, it’s not necessary to be tattooed to make monetary contributions. Donations can be made to the Tats for Bats account or straight to the Beneficiary.
Tats for Bats
Branch: Cresta 254-905
Ref: Battoo19-(name) – for example: Battoo19-golden tiki
082 953 4025