Good News for Bats? Species Bouncing Back in Europe
Call it a comeback. After a prolonged decline, populations of several bat species are on the rise, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency.
The largest-yet study of European bat population trends surveyed 16 of the 45 European bat species in nine countries.
The results show that several bat populations increased by 43 percent between 1993 and 2011, though the scientists cautioned that the flying mammals are still vulnerable.
“This is the first time such a large group of monitoring schemes within Europe all got together,” said Karen Haysom, science director at the Bat Conservation Trust in London and one of the researchers who coordinated the study.
Bat populations declined severely in Europe during the latter half of the 20th century due to changes in land use, habitat loss, and even poisoning from toxic timber in house roofs. (Read about diminishing bats in National Geographic magazine.)
European bats have also faced unique difficulties, Haysom said: “One of the problems in the past is that bats were widely feared and deliberately killed.”
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