Things are getting batty! Not only is October recognized as Bat Appreciation Month, but it's also Bat Week from October-31.
As creatures of the night, bats are often feared. Most people don't realize the importance of bats, which are keystone species for people and biodiversity, acting as pollinators, helping control pests and dispersing seeds.
Several species of bats find refuge in Bosnia and Herzegovina's caves, but their conservation status is unknown and no legislation exists to protect bats and their habitat. With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) through its investment in the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, the Center for Karst and Speleology (CKS) created a network of volunteer bat monitors to provide accurate data on the occurrence and activity of bat species in the Neretva River Catchment that is being collated into national and international databases.
CKS also raised awareness among the general public, tourists, the scientific community and the government about the positive contributions and threats to bat species living in the caves of the country's karst region. To encourage the participation of the scientific community and foster a new generation of experts in bat conservation, CKS coordinated a contest for the best professional manuscript on bats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Read the winning manuscripts.
A group of bats hanging in a cave in the Neretva River Catchment Area. © Centar za krš i speleologiju