Insect-eating Bat Research & Conservation Efforts
Photograph: Cheryl Empey
Photograph: Marie Jullion via Wikimedia Commons
Photograph: Armin Kübelbeck via Wikimedia Commons
Israel is home to a number of insect-eating bat species including Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri), Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus), the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), and Blasius’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus blasii). The Biblical Zoo is involved, through research and in conjunction with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, in efforts to learn more about these animals as there have been marked and well-documented declines in parts of their ranges. The Zoo has also created a number of artificial roosting sites as the natural habitats of these animals have diminished: in parts of their range, woodlands are under threat and land management and agricultural practices are changing. Roosting sites in trees and buildings may be destroyed and cave roosting habitats are being damaged. Fragmentation/isolation of habitats, loss of insects caused by pesticides, and deforestation (mostly caused by logging operations and the conversion of land for agricultural and other uses) are also factors threatening these animals, who are very sensitive to disturbance.