Of Bats and Men

A Disney Conservation Fund project

The project activities are focused in Eastern Rhodopes Mountains, Southeast Bulgaria – a stronghold of the bats in Bulgaria and Europe. During the last decade we registered an increase of the threats “Disturbance” and “Habitat degradation” in the project area followed by population decline. This project applies measures to mitigate the negative impact and compensate for the damages on the bat habitats and populations.

The main objective of the project is the conservation of 9 threatened bat species populations in Eastern Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria through enhancing their habitats, reducing the level of disturbancцаe, raising public awareness and engagement of local community in bat conservation.
Some of the objectives will also contribute to the conservation of other threatened species such as the Spur-thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca) and Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni). Therefore, in this project the bats act as an “Umbrella” species and their conservation supports the biodiversity in a wider aspect.
The project will collaborate with the local regional authorities and local schools.
There are 7 sites with large bat colonies addressed by this project proposal: Madzharovo mine reservoirs, Aina-ini cave, Rupata cave, Samara cave, Yarasa-ini cave, Zandana cave and Gyurgena cave.

  • An increase of the bat populations;
  • Enhanced roosting, breeding and hibernating habitats of the target bat species;
  • Increased breeding success and winter survival of the target bat species;
  • Restoration of 14 watering places for livestock as main foraging habitat for bats;
  • At least 20% increase in the number of people with positive attitude towards bats in the project area compared to the baseline;
  • At least 30 local people actively involved in the project;
  • At least 140 scholars in the project area directly reached through educational activities;
  • At least 50 families reached through International Bat Night Events;
  • Barbastella barbastellus
  • Miniopterus schreibersii
  • Myotis bechsteinii
  • Myotis blythii
  • Myotis capaccinii
  • Myotis myotis
  • Rhinolophus blasii
  • Rhinolophus mehelyi

Duration: 01-OCT-2018 to 31-OCT -2020
Total budget: 47,285 $