Have you ever wondered who is flying in the skies at night while most of the living world sleeps?
Of course, those night fliers are bats, the only mammals that actively fly. They are, after rodents, the largest group of mammals, with about 1300 species recorded so far, accounting for 20% of all known mammal species to date.
The role of bats in the ecosystems in which they are present is very significant, which is why their protection is extremely important. Their importance in the natural regeneration of tropical forests, pollination of a whole range of plants that bloom at night, and in controlling the abundance of night insects is indispensable. Furthermore, some species of bats are indicator species, and changes in their populations may indicate changes in the biodiversity of an area.
Bat populations worldwide have declined significantly since the mid-20th century, largely as a result of a variety of anthropogenic activities. The most significant consequences of these activities, which negatively affect bat populations, are the degradation, fragmentation and / or complete loss of favourable habitats for hunting, destruction or degradation of habitats that bats inhabit, the increasing use of pesticides and various other aggressive chemicals commonly used in agriculture or forestry, but also other factors such as disease and climate change.
There are 45 species of bats recorded in Europe, and so far 34 species of bats have been recorded in Croatia, which are protected by the Nature Protection Act. The obligation to conserve their populations also arises from the signed Agreement on the Protection of Bats in Europe (UNEP / EUROBATS), which Croatia signed among other European and non-European countries.
On the island of Mljet there have been 11 bat species recorded so far, indicating great diversity and well-preserved habitats, and soon you will be able to hear more about bat ecology and past researches on the Island of Mljet.
Mljet National Park Public Institution invites you to the presentation “Bats of the Island of Mljet and what we know about them” by the author Vida Zrnčić, head of the 2019 bat research study in Mljet National Park.
Presentation will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 7 pm at the “Stara skula” Gallery in Goveđari Village.
Photo: B. Krstinić