Wind farms along mountain ridges may negatively affect bats

November 1, 2017

By attaching miniaturized Global Positioning System tags to cave bats near a mountain ridge in Thailand, researchers have shown that bats repeatedly use mountain slopes to ascend to altitudes of more than 550 m above the ground.

The Mammal Review findings suggest that mountain ridges are key habitat features that help with foraging and navigation for some bats. Therefore, development of along mountain ridges might be in conflict with the conservation of some open-space foraging bats.

"Mountain ridges seem to be sensitive places for bats because some open-space bats use these sites for foraging and for launching into the nightly skies. The recorded flight paths suggest that some bats may be attracted to wind turbines when these are placed along ridges—a fatal attraction for bats," said senior author Dr. Christian Voigt, of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, in Germany.

More information: Manuel Roeleke et al, Bats probe the aerosphere during landscape-guided altitudinal flights, Mammal Review (2017). DOI: 10.1111/mam.12109

Provided by: Wiley

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