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THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF BATS AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
- The global Red List of Threatened Species
The IUCN Red List is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. It relies on a series of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.
- The Bonn Convention
Signed in 1979, the Bonn Convention aims to protect and manage the worlds migratory species of wild animals. This agreement consists of two appendices:
Annex I contains the list of species in danger of extinction that is to say, the species whose area of distribution could disappear or all endangered species.
Annex II lists the species whose conservation status is unfavourable. Migratory species of wild animals mostly belong to groups of mammals, reptiles and birds.
European bats are listed in Appendix 2 of this Convention.
THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF BATS AT EUROPEAN LEVEL
- The Berne Convention
This agreement, signed in 1979 concerns the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats of the European Community. The majority of species of European bats are under Annex II, strictly protected species.
- Habitats Directive
In 1992, the Directive "Habitat - Fauna - Flora" calls on countries of the European Community to strictly protect all bat species listed in Annex IV (animal and plant species of Community interest in need of strict protection, and the designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for the 12 species listed in Annex II (animal and plant species of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of SACs).
- Eurobats Agreement
This is an agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats, EUROBATS, which was adopted in 1991. This agreement aims to identify sites and regions of Europe important for the protection of bats, monitor the status and development of populations of bats and carry out studies on migration patterns.
- The LIFE Nature Programme
Financial instrument for the protection of the environment, developed by the European Commission, LIFE aims to support the development and implementation of EU environmental policy and sustainable development.
LIFE Nature contributes to the implementation of Community legislation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in Europe.
THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF BATS IN FRANCE
- The Red List of endangered species in France
Established in accordance with international criteria of the IUCN, the Red List aims to provide an objective assessment of the degree of threat to the species throughout the national territory. It aims to collate the best available information and most recent data on the risk of loss of our plant and animal species that reproduce in the wild or which are regularly present.
- All species of bat present in France are protected by the conservation law of the 10th July 1976.
It is therefore prohibited to carry out the "destruction or removal of eggs or nests, the mutilation, destruction, capture or removal, intentional disturbance, the naturalization, transport, peddling, use, possession, offering for sale, sale or purchase of non-domestic protected animals , whether alive or dead. " The "Destruction, alteration or degradation of particular species" is also prohibited.
- The prefectural orders for biotope protection (APPB)
This provision has been used regularly for the conservation of bats, for hibernation sites or breeding sites, even if they are living accommodation.
- The national (RNN) and regional (RNR) nature reserves
- The national action plans
Plans to restore wildlife, initiated in 1996, aim for the conservation of species. They were renamed "action plans" since the circular of 3rd October 2008. Three main areas of work define the actions of a recovery plan:
-> Protect through measures conducive to restoring populations,
-> Improve knowledge through consistent monitoring of populations,
-> Inform stakeholders and raise public awareness.
The first national restoration plan (1999-2004) set the goal of preserving important sites and enhancing bat populations. A second national action plan was adopted for the period 2009-2013 and continues the steps taken in the first plan.
Despite legal protection measures, bats remain a threatened species. Human activity appears to be related directly and / or indirectly to the decline of bats.
THE CAUSES OF DECLINE IN THE BAT POPULATION
The causes of the decline in the bat population are:
This is one of the main causes of the disappearance of bats as pesticides eliminate their food sources and affect their immunity, may be even poison them.
- Environmental changes
Grassland areas have decreased due to intensive cultivation, forest areas have decreased, wetlands have disappeared to make way for homes.
- Light pollution
Night lighting makes insects disappear in dark areas because they are attracted to the light. They are over hunted and their reproduction is hindered.
Bats in turn are attracted by the insects and are no longer protected by darkness, making them vulnerable to predators. In addition, bats that hunt only in dark areas have fewer prey. Studies have shown that light can destroy a colony. Young bats raised in lit buildings are more vulnerable than those raised in dark buildings.
- Increased use of the underground environment and destruction of underground cavities
Bats need absolute tranquillity during hibernation and reproduction. The development of recreational caving and hiking disturbs bats and has intensified their decline.
Underground cavities and artificial breeding grounds are essential for the populations of bats. Obstruction decreases their habitat.
- Treatment of roof spaces
Products used for the treatment of roof spaces poison bats, passing into the bloodstream from contact with the wings and being swallowed during grooming.
- Road and rail mortality
Collisions with vehicles and trains are a cause of mortality.
- Wind farms
The rotation of the blades induces sudden depression of the mass of air surrounding the portion of the blades. This can cause burst blood vessels in bats and lethal internal bleeding. This phenomenon causes an excess of trauma for migratory species, but also for local species which are hunting or in transit. Bats can also collide with the blades, causing direct mortality.