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Home arrow Environment arrow Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

Cyprus

In Cyprus, R. aegyptiacus was officially declared a pest by the Department of Agriculture in the early 1900s. Destruction campaigns and programs to eradicate the species began in the late 1920s. As in Israel, fumigation of caves also depleted populations of insectivorous bats. In addition, bats were shot, with the government offering free cartridges and payment to participating hunters as well as payment for dead bats. These control campaigns finally ended in 1990 after there were very few bats left (Hadjisterkotis 2006). The species became legally protected after Cyprus law No. 24 of 1988 ratified the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Habitats. This was made possible when Cyprus became a candidate for European Union membership. As the Convention previously only protected insectivorous bats, in 1993 Cyprus added R. aegyptiacus to the EU list of protected bats in Annexes II and IV of the council directive 92/42/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna (Hadjisterkotis 2006).

Israel

In Israel, two laws protect animals outside nature reserves or national parks. 'The law for the protection of wild animals' concerns hunting and is considered to be stronger legislation than `The law for the protection of natural values'. The former aims mainly to regulate hunting (what, how and where?) and lists all protected mammals, including some non-local species. The second law aims to protect aniChironax melanocephalus are listed asmals, plants, fossils and speleothems.

R. aegyptiacus is protected by neither law and is considered a pest. Although it is legal to kill fruit bats, cruel killing is forbidden by the 'Animal welfare act'.

Fruit bat colonies are protected in national parks and nature reserves, but if the bats' foraging sites are outside protected areas, then they may be legally killed.

Israeli conservationists have had protracted negotiations with the Ministry of Agriculture regarding Israel joining the EUROBATS agreement. Although that is likely to happen in the near future, a derogation will be sought to maintain the pest status of R. aegyptiacus, at least for the immediate future (A. Streit, pers. comm.).

 
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