Bulgarian bats are flying mammals feeding on insects. They look like mouse, but evolutionary are closer to man than to mouse. These very intelligent, active during the night creatures are challenged to survive in a word dominated by men. Human attitudes, misunderstandings, actions and inactions have made the bats one of the most vulnerable groups of animals. For this reason, all bat species in Europe are now protected by a number of international conventions, agreements and directives. In order to protect them, our organization performs various activities described below:
Bat Night information campaign
In 2017, Science for Nature Foundation (SNF) joined the initiative with two lectures and a field expedition. The lectures were on the topic “Phylogeny of the mustache nights on the Balkan Peninsula” (Heliana Dundarova, IBER – BAS) and “Rehabilitation of bats and people – stories from the kitchen” (Vyara Krushkova, Wild Animals Foundation). The practical part of the event took place near the “Razhishkata” cave, where Stoyan Goranov (NNMH – BAS) and Dimitar Ragyov (IBER – BAS and SNF) conducted training on the topic “Monitoring and catching bats for the purposes of their research and conservation”.
The event was attended by over 25 people and was covered by 7 local and national media. Information materials and handmade souvenirs were distributed to the participants. For more information, please refer to the Foundation’s report here, and photos of the event can be found here.
The research of Science for Nature Foundation led to the first-time discovery of the European Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida teniotis) for the territory of Vrachanski Balkan Natural Park and the protected area of Natura 2000 network with the same name.
It is one of the largest bat species in Bulgaria. It prefers rock fissures and facades of buildings for its shelter. It is difficult to observe and capture this species because it hunts on long distances at high altitudes, as well as over large water bodies with standing water. His echolocation sounds are at the lowest frequency in comparison with the species inhabiting our country. They can be heard with an “unarmed ear” as they are within human audible range.
The species is extremely rare and found in less than 10 places in the country. In August 2017, we managed to capture 2 male individuals, establishing a potentially swarming field of the species near the village of Lakatnik. This is also the most northern locality of the European Free-tailed Bat in Bulgaria.
Installation of information boards in the Balkan Mountains
Members of the tourist company „Oilaripi” and Science for Nature Foundation have put purpose-made information boards for the conservation of bats in the Balkan Mountains. This is part of the activities within the project „For the Bats and the People in the Balkans”, related to nature conservation on the tourist route Kom – Emine. Another project’s activity is the construction and installation of bat houses in the area of Karaivanovo Horishte Shelter to compensate for the loss of bat shelters in result of human activities.
Project’s activities are implemented with the support of the “Create a change” Programme, funded by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation through Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation.
Community for bat conservation Web Platform
Our foundation created a web-based work group for research and conservation of bats in Europe and the near-by territories. The group aims to create opportunities for exchange of information between people who love bats and work for their conservation. Members of the work group are over 150 experts and amateurs from more than 10 countries. You can find the group here.
How to support us
You can buy t-shirts, bags and souvenirs with bats here. For every 25 EUR donated, we will build and install 1 bat house, and you will receive a donation certificate as a person who helps for bats protection.
IBER – BAS stands for The Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
NMNH – BAS stands for The National Museum of Natural History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Picture: Tadarida teniotis (Rafinesque, 1814), Dimitar Ragyov