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Wind farms threaten bats

  • Written by  Tom Hart
  • Published in Wildlife
Wind farms threaten bats Shutterstock
01 Oct
2014
German researchers examined the risks for the 300,000 bats that move through the country each year and found that 72% of all deaths in the migrating colonies are attributable to wind turbines

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research found that species traveling through eastern Germany from the Baltic states, Russia and Poland are particularly vulnerable to the effects of wind farms.

‘The study shows that Germany bears responsibility not only for the protection of local bats, but also for migrating bats from other countries owing to its central location as a transit area,’ said Christian Voigt, a researcher from the Leibniz Institute.

Keratin from hair samples was analysed to determine the ratio of light hydrogen in the hair. This information is used by researchers to determine the rainfall levels in the region where the animal originated.

Female bats, especially the young, formed a large proportion of those killed. Wind turbines tend to attract bats during mating season when swarms head for rocks, church towers and other prominent features.  Bats do not fly in wind speeds up to six to eight metres per second, which is the best speed for turbine power generation, so researchers suggest that deactivating wind farms in quiet conditions might help to save bats.

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