Press release 11.02.2021

Keeping an eye on hibernating bats

New bat species detected in the Gesäuse National Park


The first record of the Lesser Mouse-eared Bat was made in the Gesäuse National Park. "As the species is considered to be threatened with extinction throughout Austria, we are particularly pleased with this find," enthuses Simone Pysarczuk from the Coordination Office for Bat Protection and Research in Austria (KFFÖ) after two years of work. The lesser mouse-eared bat inhabits only a very small area in Austria. In summer, this species lives in large colonies together with its sister species, the mouse-eared bat, and is therefore very difficult to detect. The new evidence from the National Park is therefore particularly valuable.

Now, in the cold season, there is nothing for native bats - insectivores, not bloodsuckers - to eat. They have to hibernate in safe places and reduce their energy consumption as much as possible. The abundance of caves in the Gesäuse National Park is particularly suitable for such winter quarters. While some bat species use the area all year round, others are only found as migrants or winter guests.

The demanding terrain and the large number of caves naturally pose a challenge for the researchers. For example, only selected caves, buildings and bridges are examined for bat occurrences every 10 years. Nevertheless, these professional checks provide a very good overview of the bat species in the Gesäuse National Park.

So far, 26 bat species have been recorded in Styria. "In the Gesäuse National Park, there were 18 species last year. This is an impressive number for a mountain habitat," says Alexander Maringer, Head of Research at the Gesäuse National Park. The unspoilt mountain landscape but also the traditional alpine pastures are a refuge for many species and the quiet winter quarters in the rocky niches and caves of the Gesäuse are particularly appreciated by the bats.


Enquiry notes:

Simone Pysarczuk (KFFÖ) 0680/44 19 893

Alexander Maringer (Gesäuse National Park): 0664/82 52 314


General press enquiries: Isabella Mitterböck, Tel: 0664/34 65 629

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