Meet Abigél Szodoray-Parádi, bat scientist and member of the Romanian Bat Protection Association
Name: Abigél Szodoray-Parádi
Title: Bat Scientist
Organization: Romanian Bat Protection Association
Female Conservation Mentor: Professor Kate Jones, University College, London
What’s your favorite bat species and why?
I am biologist and I started to work in bat conservation because I realized even though bats are legally protected in Romania, this is still not put in practice yet. So in this way I have no favorite bat species since all of the 32 species from my country need to be protected.
What is your focus in bat conservation?
I have been a part of the Romanian Bat Protection Association since 1999 and I have been involved in many conservation and education projects in Romania. The most important one to me was the development of the iBats program. The program enables volunteers from around the world collect bat sounds and together we keep track of any changes in abundance or distribution of these amazing species. Together with Professor Kate Jones and the Bat Conservation Trust we started a project from this initiative where we could establish, for the first time in Romania, a roadside database of bat activity. This enables us to make informed decisions on the impact of road development on biodiversity.
At the moment I am focusing on the conservation and research of bats that dwell in buildings across Romania as part of my work for the Romanian Bat Protection Association.
What is your proudest moment in your conservation career?
The one of the proudest moments in my research career was when I became one of the Funding Trustee members of BatLife Europe. BatLife Europe is an international NGO built from a partnership of national bat conservation organizations committed to promoting the conservation of all bat species and their habitats throughout Europe.Representatives of the partnering NGOs from round Europe elected me as the secretary of the organization and since 2011 I have been working to develop the organization.
Another important moment in my life happened in 2008, when I became the scientific focal point of EUROBATS for Romania. EUROBATS, is an agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats set up under the United Nations Environment Programme. The Bat Agreement, which came into force in 1994, aims to protect all 53 European bat species through legislation, education, conservation measures and international co-operation with Agreement members and with those who have not yet joined.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in bat conservation?
The only advice I can give is if you really want to do a great work, you have to be patient and persistent. Working with bats takes many hours of standing and waiting in front of a mist net, or days of analyzing the results siting in front of a computer. But this is the only way to get useful information about the secret life of bats and to contribute to the effective conservation of these vulnerable animals.