Several caves in western part of country, closed in order to protect bat colonies

A number of fifteen caves in the western part of the country, in Bihor, Alba and Cluj counties, will be closed based a European funded project, in order to preserve the bat populations.

bat coloniesThe "Conservation of bats in Craiului Forest, Bihor and Trascau" project is coordinated by the Environmental Protection Agency (APM) Bihor in collaboration with Romania's Bat Protection Association and the Institute of Speleology "Emil Racovita" in Cluj-Napoca.

According to a release issued by APM Bihor, existing railings will be closed or modified in: Lesului Valley Water Cave, Vadu Crisului Cave, as well as the ones of Batranului, Astileu, Ticlului, Tasad, Betfia, Ciur-Izbuc, Fanate, Coliboaia, Magura, Onceasa, Humpleu, Huda lui Papara and the Bat Cave from Ampoitei keys.

Between June and December of 2011, the administrative team started and finalized the online public acquisition tender on the technical documentation for the caves closing, respectively for obtaining all necessary licenses and permits for the project. Next activity is starting the bidding for the closing of the caves works.

The project co-funded by the European Union, via the LIFE financial instrument, is to ensure long term conservation of bat populations in the areal covered by this project through concrete activities, such as closing the caves, changing the lighting in some underground habitats and change of the tourist visiting routes to the caves, to avoid bats' disturbance.

Protect bat colonies

Underground shelters (caves, mine galleries) have a special role in the life cycle of bats, some species using such shelters throughout the year and others only during hibernation or reproduction. Because underground shelters are the most stable and usually contain the most significant aggregations of hundreds or thousands of bat colonies, their protection should have the maximum priority. Uncontrolled tourist speleology, unorganized human access, noises, vandalism, garbage thrown into the caves, lighting fires, caves improperly set up can lead to a significant loss of colonies and the decline of bat populations, the release also informs.

Source: AGERPRES

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