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Protect bats with cavers

The Rhône-Alpes region hosts 30 of the 34 species of French bats. Despite its lack of popularity, they are all protected species, including four main families that live underground. The CORA (Rhônes-Alpes Ornithological Center) works with cavers to raise awareness of the species. The Petzl foundation supports this cooperation which aims to improve our knowledge of caves while encouraging respectful behavior.

SEPTEMBER 2014

The greater mouse-eared bat, an European species of bat © Yoann Peyrard

  • Project partner: Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (Birds Protection League) - Rhône-Alpes, rhone-alpes.lpo.fr
  • Country: France, Rhône-Alpes
  • Project type: Preservation of the environment
  • Budget: €5,000 in 2011 and 2012

What are Chiropteras ?

Commonly known as bats, chiropteras are often misunderstood. They are frequently confused with vampire bats or thought to attack the woodwork in houses. This is far from the truth! Why do we dislike them so much?

• Chiropteras are in fact the only flying mammals that exist!

They flap their splayed fingers, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane. These creatures are much more comfortable in the air than on the ground.

Bats, mammals of the order Chiroptera © CORA

• Echolocation makes them unique. This system enables them to circumnavigate in their dark environment.

• Bats give birth to only one pup per year and gather in "maternal colonies" to raise them without the males.

• Their diet consists exclusively of insects, which helps control insect populations including those of harmful species such as mosquitoes.

• We may be led to believe that bats breed rapidly; however, their group existence attracts predators such as hawks and owls.

European free-tailed bat © Laurent Arthur

Protecting these fascinating creatures also maintains biodiversity.

Raising awareness among cavers

The CORA* project is part of the national bat protection action plan, initiated by the Ministry of Ecology in 1999 and renewed in 2009 for a further 4 years.

CORA sets up awareness-raising programs for cavers in order to educate them on biodiversity and conservation. These programs aim to:

  • Improve cavers' knowledge of bats,
  • Give bats greater protection,
  • Educate the general public.

Bats: public awareness campaign © Morverand / Yoann Peyrard

CORA organize bat habitat training sessions for amateur and professional cavers. They also organize communication events for the general public. They also try to encourage cooperation among all those involved in preserving these animals and their environment.

More info: rhone-alpes.lpo.fr

* Centre Ornithologique Rhône-Alpes

Updated in september 2014


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