About the LIFE project "Improving the Pond Bat habitats in Estonia" / EstBatLIFE

The Pond Bat, Myotis dasycneme is threatened species in Europe During the 20th century, the population of M.dasycneme has declined considerably across the EU, especially in the boreal part of its distribution range. One of the main reasons for this drastic decline has been the reduction of safe winter roosts - underground habitats have either been destroyed or the disturbance level has risen due to high visitor flows. Due to the small size and long hibernation, the awakening during the hibernation, followed by the loss of energy, often proves fatal for bats.

The most significant wintering sites of the Pond Bat for the whole boreal region are located in Estonia, therefore the conservation activities in Estonia play a crucial role for the whole EU population of Pond Bat. The previous attempts at managing the visitor flows or prohibiting the entrance to the underground sites were unsuccessful as the placed grilles either had proved to be inappropriate for bats, had been destroyed or removed. It proves the need for awareness raising and community involving conservation activities. Therefore the existing experience and knowledge of the EUROBATS and Estonian bat conservationists must be combined with the community involvement approach.

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 (see ref 2&3 below). 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.

The  project (EstBatLIFE) 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.

About the coordinating

Coordinating Beneficiary: the Estonian Fund for Nature, http://elfond.ee/en
Lauri Klein, project coordinator, +372 5179668, lauri.klein@elfond.ee

Associated Beneficiary: the Estonian Museum of Natural History, http://www.loodusmuuseum.ee
Laura Pärtel, +372 58117994, laura.partel@loodusmuuseum.ee

About the funding and LIFE programme

The project EstBatLIFE is implemented with the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union.


Total amount: 972 395 euros, 

EC Co-funding: 60%

Co-financer: Estonian Environmental Investment Centre


The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. LIFE Nature and Biodiversity provides targeted funding for species conservation actions, supporting projects aimed at conserving threatened species listed in the annexes of the EU Habitats Directive, Birds Directive and the IUCN European Red List.

Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. It stretches across all 28 EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.