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ANSE protects bat populations through the purchase of a Special Conservation Area in the Region of Murcia. (05/06/2019)

The ANSE Foundation has acquired the Las Yeseras Cave Special Conservation Area, located in Santomera a few days ago, with the aim of protecting the populations of several bat species with a different degree of threat.

These are caves that in the past were used for the extraction of gypsum, located in the foothills of the Sierra de Orihuela, in an area with semi-arid shrub vegetation bordering the Segura orchard and the nearby town of Santomera.

The ANSE Foundation will launch a donation campaign these days for those people and entities wishing to collaborate in the acquisition of the Reserve and develop the first protection measures, having already had a first contribution from the Beatrice Ederer-Weber Stiftung Foundation.

The project is developed on an area of ​​approximately 12,000 m2 of land, almost all of ZEC ES6200033 Cueva de Las Yeseras, in the municipality of Santomera (Region of Murcia), a rocky enclave that has survived the irrigation agricultural transformations of its environment.

It is an important refuge for bats that can host more than 3000 individuals of different species, among which the presence of Myotis capaccinii (Bat bigeye) and Miniopterus schreibersii (Bat of cave) included in Annex II of the Directive 92/43.

The cavities are also used in smaller numbers by other species included in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, such as the Great and Small Horseshoe (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and R. hipposideros) and the Brown-eared Bat (Myotis emarginatus).

In addition, the presence of at least four other species of bats has been detected over the immediate environment of the cavities: the Cabrera's Bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), the Dwarf Bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), the Brown Hover-eating Bat (Eptesicus isabellinus) and the Raboon bat (Tadarida teniotis).

At least 4 of the species that use the cavity are included in the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species, one in the category "Endangered" (M. capaccinii) and 3 in the "Vulnerable" (R. ferrumequinum, M. schreibersii and M. emarginatus).

The fundamental objective of the project is the conservation of bat reproductive populations, with a score of species present in the Southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, and which constitute one of the most diverse groups among the mammals of the Iberian fauna, and of which "Environmental services" lends to local communities for the very high consumption of insects.

The purchase of land for the custody of the territory promoted by ANSE began more than 20 years ago.

The association believes that not all the protection and management of natural areas and biodiversity has to be done exclusively by the administration, and the collaboration of social organizations such as ANSE, companies, citizens and diverse groups can and should help multiply the efforts of administrations, and improve the "image" of an animal group of enormous importance for ecosystems and even humans, such as bats.

After the purchase, ANSE hopes to count on the support and collaboration of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia in the management of the ZEC, in order to develop different actions for the conservation of the site, such as the removal of garbage, partial closure or total access to bat reproduction areas, restoration of vegetation cover, biological monitoring and investigation of bat populations, environmental education activities, etc.

Source: ANSE

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