On 16-17 February, PTPP „pro Natura” Staff members visited a Bavarian LIFE-funded project protecting Germany’s last remaining greater horseshoe bat breeding colony (Grosse Hufeisennase in der Oberpfalz – Optimierung der Habitate und der offentlichen Wahrnehmung – LIFE11 NAT/DE/000346). The project was led by an NGO (Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern e.V.), in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Real Estate (Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben), and the Federal Forestry Unit (Bundesforstbetrieb) in Hohenfels.
There are quite a few differences between the two horseshoe bat species, but there are also many similarities in their biology and consequently their conservation methods.
The visit aimed at developing cooperation and exchange of experience between LIFE projects. Its main theme was creation of new summer shelters, which in both projects take the form of towers. Colleagues from Germany, especially Rudi Leitl, project manager on behalf of the main beneficiary, presented their experiences and pointed out places where, in their experience, additional or alternative solutions could be introduced. The presentations were combined with a field visit to look at the structures used in the Bavarian project and place them in the context of the overall project and of local habitat conditions.
Our project manager, in turn, presented the assumptions for bat towers, mainly for the lesser horseshoe bat in Poland. The discussions helped to refine the details of the equipment for the towers, which can be introduced at the first of the 10 planned facilities. Drinking water pools for bats have been used in earlier Polish projects, such as in the building of the Ojców National Park as well as in the towers built in Bavaria. Both have been assessed as useful. They were therefore also planned for towers built in Poland.
German colleagues were interested in an adaptation developed by PTPP „pro Natura” and tested in Poland designed to make roosting easier for bats. Ceramic tiles with stones glued to tchem were used by bats, very keen to use such solutions for a grip.
We also tentatively discussed potential directions for further cooperation between our organisations and possible joint ventures.