The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) will be taking part in its fifth European Bat Night next Saturday 17th September. This year GONHS is also promoting the Year of the Bat. The Year of the Bat is a two year-long global species awareness initiative undertaken by The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS).
This will be held at the Open Air Theatre, Alameda Gardens, starting at 8.30pm in order to maximise the opportunities of seeing bats emerging around twilight and to give time for participants to ask questions before then. Although no end time is set, previous year's events usually finish around 10-10.30pm.
Entrance is free. Please note that as this even is being held within the Alameda Botanic Gardens, dogs are not allowed. This event is suitable for all ages, particularly children.
GONHS volunteers will be setting up an ultrasound bat detector with speakers, through which participants should be able to hear an electronic interpretation of bat calls as these forage for insects around trees and over the theatre's pond.
Albert Yome, GONHS Bat Group coordinator said that they expect to see or detect Soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Schreiber's Bent-winged bat Miniopterus schreibersii and perhaps the European freetailed bat Tadarida teniotis. A further outing is being planned in order to specifically search for the latter species, which hunts over more open areas in Gibraltar.
About European Bat Night
The event, organised by EUROBATS, takes place every year in more than 30 countries. Nature conservation agencies and NGOs from across Europe pass on information to the public about the way bats live and their needs with presentations, exhibitions and bat walks, often offering the opportunity to listen to bat sounds with the support of ultrasound technology.
An Introduction to EUROBATS:
The Bat Agreement
The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats, which came into force in 1994, presently numbers thirty European states among its Parties, from North, South, East and West.
The Agreement was set up under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which recognises that endangered migratoryspecies can be properly protected only if activities are carried out over the entire migratory range of the species.
The Bat Agreement aims to protect all 45 species of bats identified in Europe, through legislation, education, conservation measures and international cooperation with Agreement members and with those who have not yet joined.
In Gibraltar, all bats and their roost sites are protected under the Nature Protection Act 1991.