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In the complex interrelationship of species, there are five groups of animals that are of the essence to the survival of humanity. These are pollinators (including bees), plankton, big mammals… and bats. For this reason, the Żubr Fund has launched a project aimed at supporting the research and the protection of bats, but also dispelling myths about them and improving the image of these unique animals.
The word itself is mysterious – the Polish name of the bat (nietoperz) probably has something to do with the Proto-Slavic term meaning non-bird. The mystique surrounding bats makes different cultures give them different symbolism. The most interesting one comes from ancient China. Bats were equated with happiness in this country, and the words for both terms sounded the same. In fact, it can be said that the presence of bats is happiness for many terrestrial ecosystems.
The secrets of longevity and great voracity
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Most species feed on insects, and in the tropical climate zone also on fruit or nectar. These insectivorous bats play a very important role in agriculture because they feed on insects which are crop pests. They have the potential to reduce the risk of insect infestations. Therefore, they are allies to all those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Just imagine that a group of 100 bats can eat up to 3.5 tons of insects during their lifetime.
An amazing feature of bats is their longevity. Some species live up to 41 years. Other mammals of a similar size live only a year or two. According to scientists, their secret to longevity is related to a unique DNA repair mechanism and immune system. Perhaps in the future, this knowledge will allow us to better cope with human diseases.
Echolocation masters and great sleepyheads
Bats use echolocation for orientation in total darkness. The sounds they make bounce off the obstacles, and on this basis, they create an “image” of their surroundings in the brain. It can be said that bats use echolocation in the way we use our sense of sight, i.e. they “see” using the sound. Given this knowledge, scientists develop technologies that can help blind people to locate and recognize obstacles.
Another amazing feature of temperate zone bats is their ability to hibernate. This is the ability that involves significantly lowering body temperature and slowing down vital processes. Bats hibernate in winter when the weather conditions are difficult and food is scarce. By hibernating, the animals reduce their energy consumption and can survive several months without food. Bats usually hibernate in caves, basements, dugouts, bunkers and other places with low and stable temperatures as well as adequate humidity.
We bend over backwards for bats
Due to the invaluable role of bats in our ecosystem, the Żubr Fund decided to support Polish scientists from the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences by providing the equipment and infrastructure needed for research and to monitor bat activity. In addition, the Żubr Fund decided to provide financial resources for the construction of 175 nesting boxes and three several-metres-high wildlife towers which can be used by bats for breeding in summer. Anyone who wants to make such a box on their own can follow the manual on the fund’s website.
The Żubr Fund also supports a campaign by influencers interested in protecting bats. Make Life Harder, Eko. Paulina Górska, Suchar Codzienny, Donald.pl and 5 Sposobów na…, which are social media accounts, will prepare their unique and original materials which will be a record of a bat expedition and meetings with outstanding chiropterologists.
The mission of Kompania Piwowarska’s Żubr brand is to support activities aimed at protecting Polish wildlife. To that end, the brand has formed the Żubr Fund to save the resources of the flora and fauna as well as to run educational campaigns on the environment. The Żubr Fund takes care of all species of bats occurring in Poland and encourages people to get to like them.