UNEP/EUROBATS

Bats of Albania - from field work and monography to conservation and education in one of the least developed European countries, 2010

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The project was conducted by Museum and Institute of Zoology (PAS) partnered with Museum of Natural Sciences and Tirana University between March and October 2010, funded by the French Ministère de l’Écologie, de l’Énergie, du Développement Durable et de la Mer. In 2011 the project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

Until recently Albania (SW Balkans) was a country with very poorly known fauna of bats (24 species recorded versus 32 expected, low number of bat records). In spring 2010 (April-May) we have collected lacking distributional data in different parts of Albania, as a continuation of our research project lasting since 2003.

In 2010 we recorded ca 23 species: Rinolophus ferrumequinum, R. hipposideros, R. euryale, R. mehelyi, R. blasii, Miniopterus schreibersii, Plecotus sp. (austriacus/kolombatovici), Myotis myotis, M. oxygnathus, M. bechsteinii, M. emarginatus, M. nattereri, M. mystacinus bulgaricus (=M. aurascens), M. capaccinii, H. savii, E. serotinus, N. noctula, N. leisleri, P. pipistrellus, P. pygmaeus, P. nathusii, P. kuhlii and T. teniotis. One new species (Rhinolophus mehelyi) was recorded in Albania, what increases to 31 the number of bats known from the country. This record significantly extends the known range of this rare species in SW Balkans. Other most interesting results include findings of roosts with colonies of the following species: R. ferrumequinum (4 colonies), R. euryale (4), M. emerginatus (3), M. myotis and M. oxygnathus (2) and M. schreibersii (1 mixed colony with ca 3,000 individuals). Of the expected species only Nyctalus lasiopterus has not been recorded yet.

The data collected will be used to prepare the first monography of Albanian bats planned for next years. The book containing recommended conservation methods of the most important bat sites in the country (e.g. roosts of large colonies, foraging habitats) should increase the awareness and interest in bat research and protection among biology students and researchers from Albania and the Balkans. Data on bats from Albania have also international importance as essential for recognition of regional species richness as well as conservation status of particular species in Europe.

Plans for 2011 include continuation of the field research in new areas and the organization of a bat research methods workshop for Albanian students. This will be done in cooperation with Albanian partners.

Acknowledgements: The project conducted in Albania in 2010 was funded by the Ministère de l’Écologie, de l’Énergie, du Développement Durable et de la Mer, France. We are indebted to Elvana Ramaj (Albanian Ministry of Environment), Ferdinand Bego (Museum of Natural Sciences, Tirana University) and Tine Meyer-Cords (EUROBATS) for kind collaboration and help with organization of field works in 2010. We thank Wiesław Bogdanowicz (Museum and Institute of Zoology, Warsaw) for granting a part of the field equipment (a harp-trap).

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During the recent field trip in summer 2011 we collected further bat distributional data in different parts of Albania.

In 2011 we recorded 24 bat species: R. hipposideros, R. euryale, R. blasii, Miniopterus schreibersii, Plecotus auritus, P. macrobullaris, Myotis myotis, M. oxygnathus, M. daubentonii, M. emarginatus, M. nattereri, M. mystacinus sensu lato, M. capaccinii, H. savii, E. serotinus, N. noctula, N. leisleri, N. lasiopterus, P. pipistrellus, P. pygmaeus, P. nathusii, P. kuhlii and T. teniotis. New species Nyctalus lasiopterus – one of the rarest European bats – was recorded in Albania increasing the number of bats known from the country to 32. This record fills a large distributional gap for the species in Southwest Balkans between Croatia and Greece. Several new important bat roosts were found and presence of large colonies was confirmed in two known sites: R. ferrumequinum (4 colonies), R. euryale (2), R. hipposideros (2), M. emerginatus (1), M. myotis and M. oxygnathus (1), M. capaccinii (1) and M. schreibersii (1).

Data collected will be used to produce the first monograph of Albanian bats planned for the next years. The book, which will contain recommendations on conservation methods of the most important bat sites in the country (e.g. roosts of large colonies, foraging habitats), should increase the awareness and interest in bats of biology students and researchers not only from Albania and the Balkans. Data on bats from Albania have also international importance as essential for the recognition of regional species richness as well as conservation status of species in Europe.

Plans for 2012 include continuation of the field research in new areas and possible organization of a bat workshop for Albanian students.

Acknowledgements: The project conducted in Albania in 2011 was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. We are indebted to Elvana Ramaj (Albanian Ministry of Environment), Ferdinand Bego (Museum of Natural Sciences, Tirana University), Wiesław Bogdanowicz (Museum & Institute of Zoology, Warsaw) and Christine Meyer-Cords (UNEP/EUROBATS) for their kind collaboration.

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