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HELPED THE BATS SURVIVE THE WINTER

Dr Iwona Gottfried from the Institute of Environmental Biology of the University of Wrocław and Tomasz Gottfried, active in the Polish Society for the Protection of Bat, are a couple of chiropterologists who have been taking care of these mammals for years. They helped a total of 150 bats survive the winter. The common noctule bats, the parti-coloured bats and Pipistrellus bats spent the last winter in lodges on the balcony and in the basement of the Gottfrieds. When it got warmer outside, 70 of them were released in Szczytnicki Park, and another 60 will be set free in the coming days. Mr and Mrs Gottfried told us the story of their love for these pets.

It all started with a fascination with bats, their biology and conservation. We began research on various aspects of life of these mammals. One day someone brought a wounded bat to a nature conservation organization, in which we participated as students – volunteers. Someone had to take care of the animal in need. We took up the challenge, which turned out to be the beginning of a longer adventure. Soon we received another bat, which our friends brought us, “You are studying bats, help us”. And that’s how it has been going on for over 20 years…

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fot. Iwona Gottfried

The beginnings were difficult because our knowledge about the treatment of these animals was little. However, we met the veterinarian Dr Tomasz Piasecki, who got involved and together we worked out more and more effective methods of treatment and rehabilitation of bats. Now we are more and more successful. In 2020, we helped 557 bats belonging to 9 species, including: we advised the renovation of roofs so that they would not harm the colonies of bats, we freed animals from various traps, staircases, troughs. Healthy bats were realised. 156 individuals required longer treatment and feeding. Of those requiring treatment, 8 were not saved. The rest was returned back to nature.

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fot. Iwona Gottfried

Most bats that need help went to us in autumn and winter. During this period, we spend daily an average of 2 hours caring for bats. Is it worth it? We find many advantages of this! There is one that speaks to many people. During the day each bat consumes as much food – insects as it constitutes 30-50% of its body weight. If 1 Nyctalus weighs about 30 g, it eats 9-15 g of insects per day. If we multiply this by 6 months, when bats eat regularly, it turns out that 1 Nyctalus will eat 1.6-2.7 kg of insects during this time. If in 2020 we saved 140 noctule bats, then in 2021 they will eat 220-380 kg of insects. Was it worth it? Everyone has to answer this question for themselves…

fot. Iwona Gottfried
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Published by: Agata Kreska

21 Apr 2021

last modification: 21 Apr 2021