Oldest bat discovered in Slovakia

Environmentalists put a circle on it 26 years ago.

(Source: Courtesy of Štefan Matis)

Workers of the Administration of Slovenský Kras National Park during the wintertime counting of bats found the oldest one yet in Slovakia and Hungary.

The bat was marked with a circle in 1993 by environmentalists in Hungary. Based on this they know that the bat is around 26.5 years old.

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The oldest marked bat in Slovakia was 22 years and one month old until now.

Environmentalists counted 65,000 individuals from 18 species in Slovenský Kras.

The bat that became the oldest marked bat in Slovakia and Hungary has been observed for years.

“We have met this lesser horseshoe bat almost regularly since 1997, but he was hidden for some years,” said Štefan Matis of the national park administration, as quoted by the SITA newswire. There are 900 to 1,000 such bats in Slovenský Kras.

Number of some species decreases

Environmentalists check the occurrence of bats in more than 100 cave localities during the wintertime counting. The most numerous species in Slovenský Kras is the common pipistrelle – environmentalists counted around 60,000 individuals of the species.

There are only two bigger wintering sites – Bulgaria and Romania.

The number of individuals of the greater mouse-eared bat and the lesser mouse-eared bat is decreasing, similarly to other countries of Europe.

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Impact of warming

Experts found a very small occurrence of the western barbastelle, northern bat and whiskered bat, which usually prefer a cold environment.

“In the localities of their traditional occurrence, where they dominated at the beginning of the century, we can now observe other species that like a warmer environment,” said Matis, as quoted by SITA, adding that this is ascribed to the long-term trend of warming, the absence of significant winter and change of microclimate conditions in underground spaces.

The most precious wintering species, very rare in other Slovak mountains, are the Mediterranean horseshoe bat, Geoffroy's bat, common bent-wing bat and pond bat.

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