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Role of Bats in Agriculture Discussed

On the 14th of June at the Gonçalves Zarco Basic and Secondary School, tropical biologist Ricardo Rocha, researcher in the field of Nature Conservation, researcher at the Research Centre for Biodiversity and Genetic Resources of the University of Porto, and bat specialist held a seminar on the  importance of “Bats as agricultural pest controllers in Madagascar and Madeira.”

The seminar, is part of the Eco-School project, was organised by Professor Noélia Dias, was attended by 11th grade pupils, the coordinator of the Eco-School Department at EBSGZ, Professor Sérgio Duarte, and several teachers.

As hoped, the presentation aroused a great amount of interest, motivating a heated debate with  students and professors taking the time to question Ricardo Rocha about bats, and their role as ecological pest controllers.  

Madeira is currently home to three bats species:-

Madeira Pipistrelle Pipistrellus maderensis which is on the critically endangered list and can be spotted in forests, over agricultural land and in urban spaces.

Madeira Lesser Noctule Nyctalus leisleri verrucosus, again on the critically under threat list due to loss of habitat, and found mainly in forests, agricultural and pastoral land.

Grey Long-eared Bat Plecotus austriacus. Although common throughout Europe, the bat again is on the critically threatened list in Madeira due to loss of habitat, and because its its low flying nature, which makes them vulnerable to traffic accidents.

Samantha Gannon

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