Description of the species
The Geoffroy’s bat is a medium-sized bat species, which occurs in South and Middle Europe, over the Baltics up to Minor Asia. Here, the thermophilic species prefers warm, rather bright attics or church towers as summer quarters, in which they hang together in groups. As winter quarters they prefer caves, tunnels and basements with temperatures above 6°C. Geoffroy’s bats mainly feed on flying insects, preyed upon by flying along landscape lines, such as tree lines. Occasionally, they also hunt in barns, where they skilfully gather flies and spiders from the ceiling.
Situation and endangerment in the project-area
In Luxembourg, the species is seldom seen and thus classified as “endangered” on the red list of Luxembourg. Nonetheless, compared to the climatically similar neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany, there are relatively high numbers of Geoffroy’s bat colonies in Luxembourg. Thus, a total of 8 summer colonies of the species was discovered in the Grand Duchy, while in the whole of Germany, only 14 colonies are known. Therefore Luxembourg has a particular responsibility in the protection of the species in the entire greater region. Six colonies are located in the immediate vicinity of the Natura2000 regions of the LIFE-project, whilst 4 of these colonies are on the critical limit with only 12-35 animals. It is presumed, that the former mining area in the South of the country are used as hibernating quarters, however these assumptions remain to be proved.
The hunting grounds of the Geoffroy’s bats suffer from intensification of agricultural practices, leading to a loss of structural elements. The new cattle sheds also cause a problem, since they are mostly bat-proof and thus cannot be used as feeding areas. Furthermore, summer quarters in houses are directly threatened due to renovations. The closing of old shafts in the former mining area might lead to the loss of winter quarters. Furthermore, the strong geographic isolation of populations might cause an inbreeding problem.
Provisions within the project
Purchase of 2 ha open land and tree planting to improve landscape guidelines and hunting habitat. Extensification of agricultural use. Telemetry studies and specially designed photo traps to discover yet unknown summer and winter quarters.