Brown long eared (© Hugh Clark / Bat Conservation Trust)
Thank you, colleagues from Ukraine, for passing us the baton. We wish you all the best in this hard time for your country.
The Polish Society for Nature Conservation SALAMANDRA last year celebrated its 20 anniversary of work. Since the beginning, protection of bats has been a very important part of our activity. We can divide it into four main parts: concrete conservation, education, legal actions and research.
Our first big bat conservation project in the early 1990s was the protection of bat hibernacula in XIXth century fortifications in the city of Poznan. We managed to create the Working Group which consisted of all important stakeholders, including forts owners, local authorities, authorities of nature conservation and many others. General rules for bat-friendly use of fortifications were agreed, over 100 bat gates and grills were installed and some forts were covered by legal protection. Later, many other bat winter, summer and swarming shelters were secured – always with the consent and cooperation of the owners. Some projects especially worth mentioning are: 'Protection of bat hibernaculum in Strzaliny Fort”, “Protection of bat and owls in Polish churches” and “Bat and bird friendly insulation of buildings”.
For many years we have run a bat hospital which successfully returned several hundred wounded bats to nature, however we consider this project mainly as educational. Other activities from this category are: Bat Observatory “Batmanowka”, lectures about bats (presentations were given to many thousands of children and other kinds of audiences), internet blog written by a bat, street events, regular media campaigns, leaflets and many others. We coordinate the preparation of subsequent versions of national guidelines on the impact assessment of wind turbines on bats and hold workshops on this issue.
SALAMANDRA cooperates with national and regional nature conservation authorities in the preparation of species protection regulations, amendments to the Nature Conservation Act, creation of protected areas and establishment of their management plans.
One of our biggest successes was the preparation (with other NGOs and cooperation with many experts) of Polish Natura 2000 Shadow List. Our society was responsible for preparation of proposals of Natura 2000 sites for animal species (with exception of birds). Thanks to this Shadow List the non-bird part of the network was expanded from 3.7% of Poland in first governmental proposal to almost 12% today (this includes many sites for bats).
Before, during and after the conservation activity we also carried out much research, mostly to monitor and improve efficiency of conservation. For 20 years we have coordinated the bat monitoring and for some years we have also used telemetry in our research. SALAMANDRA organized also several all-Polish bat conferences.
To ensure that our conservation activities really matter for bats, we try to ensure the widest possible coverage of all projects. Several branches of Salamandra (some of them mostly or exclusively dedicated to bats) work in different regions of Poland. We cooperate with all NGOs and other institutions interested in bat conservation, implementing joint projects. With our initiative the Polish Agreement for Bats Conservation was created. In its frames NGOs make common campaigns, agree national guidelines and codes of ethics, publish scientific bat journals and so on. SALAMANDRA represent this Agreement in works of EUROBATS and recently also in BatLife Europe.
We would like to pass the baton to our colleagues from Slovakia, from Spoločnosť pre ochranu netopierov na Slovensku. We cooperate with them frequently as their organisation and ours work to conserve not only bats but also many other species. Currently we are supporting their project to protect bats and birds in blocks of flats selected for thermo-modernisation.
© Roger Jones / Bat Conservation Trust
Picking up the baton: Ukrainian Centre for Bat Protection
8th July 2014
Thank you Zoogdiervereniging! We are extremely glad to be twinned with the Dutch Mammal Society!
Ukrainian Centre for Bat Protection (in Ukrainian – Український Центр Oхорони Кажанів) is a conservation group working for bat research and conservation in Ukraine. We are open to collaboration both inside and outside the country.
At the beginning of the 1990s data about bat species distribution, their status, roosts and their quantity was scarce. Research opportunities were few and far between and scattered about the country. Bat conservation issues were very rarely considered.
In 1995 the first Ukrainian bat group UChC - Ukrainian Chiropterological Centre - was created and by 1999, the group had grown and took on the name UCEBA - Ukrainian Centre for Bat Protection. Now, the group unites about 20 bat experts from various institutions (research institutes, universities, national parks etc.) and volunteers in different regions of Ukraine.
Some of our activities are listed below:
1. Raising awareness about bats, their vulnerability and protection status among public and authorities. In recent years we’ve -
issued bat leaflets, booklets, posters, pocket and wall calendars, stickers etc.
given dozens of interviews to mass-media - newspapers, radio, TV etc.
celebrated International Bat Night - http://kazhan.org.ua/eng/projects/pr_ibn_2012.htm
organised other public and specialised bat events such as - Kharkiv: Children Bat Conference; Spring Bat Release Event, Bat Photo Exhibition; Kiev: “Bats and man: conservation and epidemiological aspects”, etc.
established two national bat web-sites http://kazhan.org.ua; http://www.bat-kharkov.in.ua, and two social network communities: Facebook and VKontakte
2. Bat contact line & bat rescue and rehabilitation.
In 2005 we established a contact line which gives an opportunity for anybody to apply to bat-experts with any question about bats. Now we receive hundreds of calls annually, not only from Ukraine but also from other countries. We’re also involved in activities concerning bat rescue and rehabilitation. We often deal with bats flown into rooms; bats who’ve lost their shelters in winter or just weakened bats found on the ground. As the public’s knowledge of bats and their plight has increased so have the number of calls we receive. During last winter (2013/2014) we rescued roughly 1300 bat individuals for rehabilitation. About 900 of them were successfully released back to the country.
3. To conserve we must know what to conserve...
Not long ago, faunistic bat data in many regions was presented only by occasional records. In fact, most of Ukraine was a big blank concerning bat fauna. During recent years however, the geography of field research has significantly broadened. Now we have data on the distribution of all species and we continue to work on further. The first large-scale bat counts in different regions were carried out; the first exact data on numbers of bats in roosts were received and hundreds of roosts were discovered. A special focus in our research is given to the revealing and inventory of underground roost sites. Earlier numbers of checked potential bat cavities amounted to a few dozens. In present their number approaches a thousand.
4. Low protection of bats and their roosts.
During recent years we’ve prevented the demolishing of bat sites / roosts using the scheme provided by the national legislation:
description of a site / roost → notification of authorities and / or owners about it → looking after the state of sites.
We also work on the preservation of sites and habitats deemed to be of regional or international importance for the monitoring and conservation of bats.
We would like to pass the baton to Poland, to Salamandra. Polish bat workers helped encourage Ukrainian bat research and conservation activities in many respects, and even the name of our group was adopted in the presence of one of the Polish bat guys.
First up is our member from the Netherlands, the Dutch Mammal Society
10th April 2014
The Dutch Mammal Society (Zoogdiervereniging in Dutch) is an independent, non-governmental organization that seeks to bring together all those involved in the research and conservation of wild mammals and their habitats in the Netherlands. Our work is carried out by approximately 1000 volunteers and our staff at our office in Nijmegen.
Founded in 1952 by a small group of scientists studying wild mammals, the Dutch Mammal Society nowadays has members from much more diverse backgrounds, and our numbers have grown. At present we have about two thousand members, and although there are no conditions to become a member, most of them are either professional mammologists or active in mammal studies as volunteers with a professional level of expertise.
At present, the Dutch Mammal Society has fourteen volunteer groups. They carry out inventories and monitor specific species (bats, beaver, otter, pine marten, small mustelids) or a broad range of species in a specific part of the country.
Our starting point is knowledge-based conservation; hence the conservation work of the Dutch Mammal Society is based on research, and the results help us protect wild mammals and their habitats in the Netherlands and, in some projects, internationally. We share our knowledge, spreading it as much as possible by giving courses, publishing brochures and books, and in scientific, peer-reviewed articles. We also work together with other nature conservation organizations both in the Netherlands, and abroad. We are a partner of Natuurpunt in Flanders and the Deutsche Säugetierkundliche Gesellschaft in Germany, as well as a member of IUCN and of course of BatLife Europe.
Apart from the volunteers, the Dutch Mammal Society has consulting office with a staff of seventeen, who are engaged in mammal research and conservation projects. The core business of our organization is coordinating observer networks, gathering data on occurrence and distribution of species, as well as for trend monitoring and the development of standards in methods for this broad-scale fieldwork. A second important area of work concerns the role of mammals in development and planning, and research into risk, impact and mitigation of negative effects. This mainly concerns protected species occurring in areas where large infrastructure projects or rural development projects are planned, with of course bats being the major species group of concern.
We work on all native mammals (and their habitats), with bats playing an important role. Some examples of our recent work are:
We carried out a study into the effects of wind turbines on bats, in cooperation with Bureau Waardenburg. The report (in English) can be downloaded here
We also collaborated in the report on European bat population trends Via the European Environment Angecy's website
Another recent activity is the organization of an international workshop on automatic monitoring of bat roosts in Europe.
Over the last few years, we have carried out several studies on restoration and development of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie and other military heritage that contain very important bat roosts and hibernacula
We recently published a brochure on bat friendly building methods, in cooperation with consultancy Tauw, which is translated into English here
We have provided several types of bat boxes to farmers and will use to monitor the effect of bats in the boxes on pests in their fields and insects in stables (see photo).
We are twinned with the Ukrainian bat NGO, the Ukrainian Centre for Bat Protection, and are looking at ways to have a more expanded cooperation. It is for this reason that we pass the baton to them.