Key sites for cave-dwelling bats
of the continental south of Ukraine


 

M. daubentonii, by L. Godlevska

Background

The project is a follow-up to the project executed by the Ukrainian bat team in 20062007 years "Key sites for cave-dwelling bats of Podillya and Dniester River region". The current project included all elements of the previous one. Aim, objectives and methodology of these projects are almost identical. The difference concerns location of the target territory which is now the continental south of Ukraine, namely Odesa, Mykolayiv and Kherson provinces.

Since 1999 Ukraine is a party of EUROBATS. According to the Agreement each party should identify sites which are important for the conservation of bats; and protect these sites from damage or disturbance.

The considered territory is extremely rich for artificial underground cavities: dozens of exhausted quarries systems are known here, in particular, in Odesa Oblast. R. hipposideros, by L. GodlevskaDespite this fact bats in underground cavities in the region almost had not been investigated. In 1967 an article by Ju. Volyansky issued (, 1967). Unfortunately, exact mentions at location of inspected by author cavities are absent in the article. And in 20042007 a census and observations of bats in few underground quarries of Odesa province had been carried out ( ., 2008).

For today, scales and intensity of mastering of territories in Ukraine grow significantly. This includes as well mastering of artificial underground spaces (using quarries for growing mushrooms, for storing wines, for using them as touristic objects, for household needs, etc.) or their blocking (for preventing problems of penetration in cavities of children, etc.). Thus, a big risk to loose important bat sites is present.

In context of all pointed above, there was a real necessity of carrying out a full-scale bat census to implement effective measures for bat conservation, including prevention of full or partial destruction of their underground roosts in the region.

 

Main executors

Lena Godlevska (project leader), Maria Ghazali (Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology of NAS of Ukraine), Volodymyr Tyschenko (National University of bioresources and nature management of Ukraine).

 

Main results

Near mine entrance, by L. GodlevskaWide bat census was carried out in summer 2008 (JuneJuly) and winter 2008/2009 (December, January). Investigations covered three administrative provinces of Ukraine: Odesa, Mykolayiv and Kherson Oblasts. Totally, 60 points were examined (exhausted and active limestone mines (majority of objects), military underground objects, cellars). Most of objects were examined for the purpose of bat census firstly.

Near mine entrance, by L. GodlevskaThe work was carried out by a standard scheme: in summer, visual examination of shelters and netting of bats during evening departure with a harp trap and mist nets; in winter, counting hibernating animals in cavities. All captured bats were examined on a standard procedure (species, sex, age, weight, measures of a forearm, ear, ectoparasites, etc.). Checked cavities were described on the common scheme (type, origin, number of entrances, temperature inside, etc.).

inside mine, by V. OschepkovIn total, bats were found in 39 sites. 9 bat species were revealed: Rhinolophus hipposideros, Myotis blythii, M. daubentonii, M. dasycneme, M. mystacinus s. l. and M. nattereri, Plecotus auritus and P. austriacus, Eptesicus serotinus. Most of the records represent an essential addition on status and distribution of revealed bat species in Ukraine, generally. For Odesa Oblast four new species were revealed; for Mykolayiv Oblast, two new species. Firstly, a big winter aggregation (>100 ind.) of rare in Ukraine M. dasycneme was found (for all the period of zoological investigations a maximal registered number of hibernating pond bats in one object had not exceeded 10 individuals).

Number of revealed species is comparatively not big. Generally, small number of species is typical for steppe regions even if they adjoin closely to non steppe areas with high species diversity. In the study area such non steppe plot (corresponding to another physiogeographic zone deciduous forest zone) lies at its north corner where 9 from 9 above mentioned species were found. In the rest of cavities (of typically steppe part) only 5 species were found. It is characteristic that a total number of accounted bats is not high 2324 individuals (with M. daubentonii as a dominants 35% from a general number). A total maximum number of bats per one object amounts 341 individuals.P. austriacus, by L. Godlevska

Basing at census results, few underground cavities or their compexes, which are highly important for bats, were determined: one, in Kherson Oblast; one, in Mykolayiv Oblast; and the, rest in Odesa Oblast.

In 2009 executors started an implementation of some practical measures on conservation of determined important underground sites: e.g., including of the determined key sites into the general national list of key bat habitats of Ukraine, sending Information letters for local authorities (under jurisdiction of which cavities are) about importance of underground cavities and inadmissibility of actions leading to destroying these bat roosts and disturbance of bats.

 

Funding

The project was supported by Direction des Eaux et Forets (Luxembourg) and Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Germany) through the EUROBATS Secretariat.

 

 

References

. . // . 1967. 1, 1. . 7778.

., ., . . // . , 2008. . 93101. ( . . 9.)

 

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11.02.2009