On September 11, thirteen countries took part in the biggest bat-related event ever held in Europe. Bat conservationists in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom celebrated the second annual European Bat Night by presenting exhibits and lectures, organizing games for children, leading bat-detecting excursions, and sponsoring a variety of other activities.
The largest single event brought 20,000 people to the Spandau Citadel in Berlin for 3-D movies, lectures, recordings of echolocation calls, and an exhibition of South American vampire bats. The local bat conservation group Vespertilio chose the centuries-old stone fortress as the festival site because it is the winter hibernation home to a colony of approximately 11,000 bats.
European Bat Night is organized by Bonn-based Eurobats and national and local affiliates in each country, all of which are signatories to a 1994 international agreement on bat conservation. The agreement seeks to coordinate research and conservation efforts for bats, some of which migrate across Europe. Bats have suffered a substantial decline on that continent, mainly due to loss of roosts when trees are cut down or buildings renovated.
Organizers in each participating country reported an excellent response from the media, and this coverage alone should have a broad impact on public awareness of bats. European Bat Night 1999 is already scheduled for the first weekend in September. For more information, contact the Eurobats Secretariat at:
D-53175 Bonn, Germany