Activities in the project "Improving the Pond Bat habitats in Estonia"
According to EUROBATS directions, the most frequently required conservation measure for the management of underground habitats is the physical protection of caves and mines against excessive disturbance. This is generally achieved by fitting a grille across the entrance which permits the free passage of bats but not people, though other measures such as security fencing may be needed in some cases. If a grille or fence is to be fitted, it is important to monitor bat numbers before and after fitting to check for any beneficial or adverse effects. There are several proofs that the number of hibernating bats was found to increase after human access had been restricted by installing grilles or sealing entrances. As there have been no previous large-scale bat protection projects in the boreal biogeographic region the important aspect is also on working and testing the EUROBATS suggested methods.
Our project follows in its actions the EUROBATS directions, and therefore the main concrete conservation action to the Pond Bat problems is the restrictions of the unauthorized visitations to the hibernacula. The project consists of following actions implemented by project beneficiaries:
- Technical designs and building permits of project sites
- Evaluation of visitation flows
- Evaluation of initial state of target species in project sites
- Restriction of human access to hibernacula
- Safeguarding the collapsing caves
- Cleaning and filling the cave systems, conservation work by volunteers
- Monitoring the effects of project actions on target species and visitation flows, suggesting
- improvements of protection of Pond Bat and site management
- Dissemination planning and execution
- Elaboration of project information boards and information materials
- Public events and exhibitions
- Field training for tourist guides for bat-friendly tours