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Bats survey in Majella National Park

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From 2005 to 2010, thanks to specialized researchers, the Park Authority carried out an investigation on the bats: still little known, but at the same time of considerable conservation interest.

Thanks to these studies, the presence of 18 species within the Park has been highlighted, 10 of which were not known before the investigations. Moreover, in-depth knowledge about the distribution, identification of shelters and feeding sites of all the species encountered was also gained. The investigation of forest-specific bats, carried out with the aid of a refined methodology AUTOBAT, has permitted to identify species never surveyed before – as the Plecotus auritus – and to confirm the presence of other species such as the Leisler’s Nottola. Thanks to this method one of the European rarest mammals was also observed: Myotis bechsteinii.

A particular aspect of this investigation has regarded the colony of bats which is present in the Abbey of Sulmona (headquarters of the Park), composed by Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and Myotis emarginatus, both species of great interest but threatened, therefore listed in Annex II of the Habitat Directive 92/43 CE.

This situation is an almost unique case in the whole Italian territory and for this reason it has been included in the recent book – published by the Department for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea – titled: "Guidelines for the Protection of Bats in Buildings".

Here in the Abbey it was possible to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data about the colony through a technologically advanced audio-video system which was developed and installed in the only point of entry / exit of the colony, thanks to the CNR (National Research Council of Florence) collaboration: at the end, the colony was estimated to have a size of about 750/800 individuals, 250 of which belonging to the Rhinolophus ferrumequinum species and the remaining to the Myotis emarginatus.

Image of a bat in flight
Image of a bat
Image of a bat taken during survey on bats in the Majella National Park
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