Rare pond bats research

This 23 June 2017 Dutch video shows pond bats, rare in the Netherlands, being freed by biologist Anne-Jifke Haarsma after transmitters have been affixed to their backs for research.

Red light does not harm bats

This video from Texas, USA says about itself:

Austin Bats under Capital Bridge HD with a red light

Filmed in April of 2012 on a Canon HD DSLR

From the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW):

Red light has no effect on bat activity

Changing the colour of artificial light could reduce disruption


Artificial light at night can have a disruptive effect on bats, but not if the light is red. Switching to red light may therefore limit or prevent habitat loss for rare, light-shy bat species. The latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B publishes results from five years of pioneering research led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW).

It’s the first time researchers have succeeded in measuring the effects of light with different spectra on the activity of slow-flying, light-shy bats in their foraging habitat. “We’ve found these bats to be equally active in red light and in darkness”, says principal researcher Kamiel Spoelstra. “White and green light, on the other hand, substantially reduce the bats’ level of activity.”

The effect of red light on more common bat species such as the pipistrelle is reduced as well. While there’s a strong increase in activity of this species in white and green light, activity in red light is comparable to that in darkness. This is caused by the strong attraction of insects to white and green (not red) light. Pipistrelles opportunistically feed on these accumulated insects.

Real-life conditions

“The lack of effect of red light on both the rarer, light-shy species and the more common non-light-shy bats”, concludes Spoelstra, “opens up possibilities for limiting the disruption caused by external, artificial lighting in natural areas, in situations where having light is considered desirable.”

One of the things that make this research unique is that the intensity of the light used for the experiments holds up under real-life conditions. “In fact, it’s entirely suitable for use on country roads.” The scale and duration of the experiments also make them quite unique.

Bats hunt for insects at night because there’s not much competition from other animals, and predators won’t see them because it’s too dark. Which is why artificial light can cause such disruption: less common, slow-flying species such as Natterer’s bat or the brown long-eared bat may feel vulnerable to visual predators such as owls.

Agile flyers such as the pipistrelle, on the other hand, don’t mind the extra light. On the contrary: streetlights come in handy for them for catching more insects. Larger bat species such as the serotine bat and the lesser noctule, finally, fly high and don’t seem to care either way.

Control row

“So for the more common species”, says Spoelstra, “artificial light can serve as a facilitator while less common species face potential loss of habitat.” Together with fellow scientists from NIOO and Wageningen University … he tried to find out if adjusting the colour of the light could limit or prevent this effect.

Over a five-year period, the researchers studied bat activity under experimental white, green and red LED-light conditions. For this, they used the one-of-a-kind facilities of the ‘Licht op Natuur’ (“light on nature”) project: eight study sites along forest edges in dark parts of the Netherlands. Each study site consists of four rows of streetlights in a single colour, and a control row of unlit streetlights.

The Licht op Natuur project isn’t ‘just’ about bats, however. The study sites are used to measure the effects of artificial light on a wide range of species including mice, larger mammals, plants, moths, soil animals and birds.

Some of the main partners in the project are Natuurmonumenten (the Netherlands Society for Nature Conservation), Staatsbosbeheer (State Forestry Commission), … the Drentse Landschap Foundation and the municipality of Ede. Data are compiled with support from the main Dutch non-governmental data managing organisations (PGOs). …

The research team expects to issue comprehensive advice – based on the response of all species groups studied – on the use of artificial light by the end of this year.

Rare barbastelle bats back in the Netherlands

This is a German language video about a barbastelle bat.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reported on 11 May 2007 about barbastelle bats. They used to be rare in the Netherlands. Until 1993, they hibernated in one spot: a ruin in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen region in Zeeland province.

After that ruin was demolished, the bats disappeared.

On 1 May this year, barbastelle bats were seen again in a woodland in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.

Japanese bats in winter, video

This video says about itself:

Searching for Japanese Bats – Japan‘s Northern Wilderness – BBC Earth

Steve heads for the Rimizu limestone caves in Japan to search for hibernating bats.

Bats in Dutch The Hague city

This video says about itself:

Bats in Transylvania

3 June 2014

Bats. Flyers of the night, mysterious creatures hiding in caves and abandoned buildings, about whom many of us don’t even know that they are not birds but belong to the family of mammals. The Apuseni Mountains in Romania is one of the regions that host the largest population of bats in Europe. Due to the ever-growing human pressure, however, bats and the caves serving as their homes have to be protected in many places. In this film we will follow in the footsteps of a bat conservation team, who are trying to explore and solve the problems threatening the bat population with the support of the LIFE Nature program.

Dutch wildlife warden Jenny van Leeuwen reports today that during research in the Haagse Bos, a forest in the center of The Hague city, six bat species have been found.

They are: Daubenton’s bat, common noctule, common pipistrelle, serotine bat, pond bat and Nathusius’ pipistrelle.

There are also other mammals in the Haagse Bos, including red squirrels, roe deer and red foxes.

The Batman of Vietnam

This video, recorded in Vietnam, says about itself:

24 July 2016

In episode 21 of the Monday Morning Travel Vlog, “Boats and Bats”, we visit Ba Be National Park (aka Ba Be Lake) and take a trip on the lake.

Kayaking, a bat cave, and of course some more shuttle buses.

From BirdLife:

The Batman of Vietnam

30 Mar 2017

We interview Vu Dinh Thong, a man who fell in love with bat conservation only five years ago and is now one of Vietnam‘s leading bat experts.

In 2001, the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) funded a project led by Vu Dinh Thong to study the diversity and status of bats in Vietnam’s Bach Ma National Park. An award provided the spark that ignited his latent interest in conservation. Five years later, Thong received further support for his bat conservation work, this time in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. Today, he is an acknowledged expert on Vietnam’s bats and their conservation.

How did you first become interested in conservation?

I first started paying attention to wildlife in 1995 during a field excursion at the end of my second semester at Hanoi National University of Education. But, to be honest, until I received an award from the BP Conservation Programme (the former name of CLP) in 2001, I was focused on academic research and had very little interest in wildlife conservation. With support from CLP to attend the training workshop for project leaders in London, I got the chance to come to England.

I took the opportunity to visit the Harrison Institute in Sevenoaks to learn about bat taxonomy and systematics. As a result of what I learnt I became the first bat specialist in Vietnam, and came to understand more about the diversity of bats and their status in my country. Since then, I have carried on conducting research on bats and their conservation. To my mind, CLP was responsible for initiating my career and helped me to direct the trends in bat research and conservation in Vietnam.

Did you have a role model or someone who inspired you?

When I was a student at university, my supervisor Professor Tran Hong Viet announced that Vietnam lacked bat specialists, and encouraged me and my classmates to focus on bat research. My first boss, Professor Cao Van Sung [a specialist in small mammals] recognised my capabilities and passion in research. He was the one who passed me the announcement from the BP Conservation Programme inviting people to apply for a grant. This was just a few weeks before the deadline for submission of the pre-application form. Until that moment, I had never heard of CLP.

Why are you particularly interested in bats?

I’m fascinated by bat diversity and, in particular, by echolocation. Bats have diverse systematics and external features. Their echolocation capabilities are absolutely brilliant. To my knowledge, humans still know very little about this subject. Like other Vietnamese wildlife, some bats are extremely threatened by human activities, which include cave visiting by tourists, poaching and habitat loss.

Bats are very sensitive to disturbance and many may become extinct unless conservation actions are implemented in time. I came to appreciate that bats are vitally important in ecosystems and need consideration from humans.

What aspect of CLP support did you find most helpful?

It was CLP who actually launched my whole career by providing support for my projects in bat research and conservation. Both my CLP-funded projects attracted a lot of attention from PhD candidates, scientists and the public, so they gave me a great opportunity to raise my profile. I have stayed in contact with CLP ever since that first project in 2001, and I receive updates through emails, Facebook, Roots Up and meetings with other alumni.

The whole CLP team over the past 16 years has always been kind, thoughtful, friendly and willing to help, and encouraged me in both research and conservation. I am very grateful.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?

My work has led me to interesting findings, new to Vietnam and to science. I have also had the chance to help my colleagues in wildlife research and conservation, particularly in training and supervising followers and colleagues. I have also successfully supervised four MSc students in bat research and three PhD candidates, who will have finished their studies on bats by the end of 2017.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I have made new discoveries including a species of bat – Hipposideros khaokhouayensis – not previously known from Vietnam, and a species and subspecies – Hipposideros griffini and Hipposideros alongensis sungi respectively – that are both new to science. I created the first echolocation database in Vietnam and through my work I have raised awareness within the Vietnamese scientific community about bat research and conservation.

Prior to 2000, there were no Vietnamese bat specialists in the country. All material published in international journals used to be written by foreigners. That is no longer the case. One of the visible impacts from my CLP projects is that Vietnam now has at least three PhD students specialising in bat research.

What are Vietnam’s biggest conservation challenges?

Illegal hunting of wildlife and habitat loss or disturbance are both big problems, not only for bats, but also for other threatened wildlife.

What are the keys to success for conservationists in your country?

It needs a combination of communication skills and scientific research. Some conservationists are good at communication but have no personal background in research to convince the authorities or society about the need for conservation. On the other hand, some researchers are very good at research but not good at training or communication. Both communication skills and research capacity are equally important.

What are your plans for the next stage of your career?

I plan to carry on implementing research, conservation and training to help save the threatened species and their habitats; to understand more about bat diversity and echolocation behaviour; to increase conservation awareness within the scientific and public domain; and to build and strengthen a national network for bat research and general mammal research and conservation.

What advice do you have for the next generation of conservationists in Vietnam?

You should have a real passion for wildlife research and conservation. Everyone needs to be aware that there will be some difficulties at the beginning, but that is no reason to give up. Success never comes easily. It takes a lot of effort.

Mexican bats and tequila

This video says about itself:

27 January 2017

As a nectar feeder, the lesser long-nosed bat follows the trail of cactus blooms between Mexico and the U.S. One of the plants it also plays a major role in pollinating is agave, which gives us tequila.