by Dr. Adam Krzanowski
Few quantitative studies of bat status are available in Poland. They indicate, however, that bat numbers are diminishing catastrophically. Their present numerical status when compared to that of the early 50's can be figuratively described as 1:100, respectively.
The spurious highlight in this gloomy picture is the Bat Nature Reserve which was established on August 11, 1980. It comprises a small part of the old, vast underground fortifications. This Bat Nature Reserve, called "Nietoperek" is situated about 100 km. west of Poznan city, near the village of Wysoka, 52 23'N, 15 28'E. More than 10,000 bats hibernate there, including 11 species in decreasing order of numbers: Myotis myotis, M. daubentoni, M. brandti, M. mystacinus, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Eptesicus serotinus, Myotis bechsteini, and Myotis dasycneme. The bulk of the population is of the first three.
Unfortunately, declaring this hibernating site as a Bat Nature Reserve made it famous, and such publicity has proven to be highly detrimental to bat protection. Scientists come here and sacrifice bats for various studies, and tourism lowers bat numbers through disturbance. Indeed, bats are protected by law in Poland, but in fact nobody cares. Consequently, it is a small wonder that bat numbers are diminishing even in their reserve.