Bat census in Crimean caves

Lena Godlevska

There is little information available about the status of the 22 bat species found in Crimea (from the total 28 bat species of Ukraine). However, it is known that over the past 50 years, the number of cave dwelling bats in Crimea has been decreasing, among which, according to the IUCN, 5 species are considered vulnerable and 2 near threatened. This Ukrainian-Romanian-Polish team will carry out surveys to determine the current status of cave dwelling bats with regards to species composition, summer and winter numbers, presence and number of maternity colonies and threats. The team will also identify important bat sites. Results will be used to develop proposals on the protection and/or management plans for bat sites. The project will work closely with local authorities and NGOs. The team will also initiate environmental education and awareness-raising activities with the local public, speleologists and protected areas staff in order to involve them in bat conservation in the region. This will be accomplished through the distribution of booklets, seminars, a website and local mass media.