Bats and buildings: The conservation of synanthropic bats

Christian C. Voigt, Kendra L. Phelps, Luis F. Aguirre, M. Corrie Schoeman, Juliet Vanitharani, Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Humans have shared buildings with bats for thousands of years, probably as early as first humans built primitive huts. Indeed, many bat species can be defined as synanthropic, i.e., they have a strong ecological association with humans. Bats have been observed using buildings as roosting and foraging sites, temporary shelters, for reproduction and hibernation. A synanthropic lifestyle may result in direct fitness benefits owing to energetic advantages in warmer roosts, which may ultimately lead to more rapid gestation and faster development of juveniles, or by being less exposed to natural predators in urban environments. All these benefits may allow bats to use buildings as stepping stones to exploit habitats otherwise devoid of roosting structures and may even lead to the expansion of geographic ranges. Yet, the coexistence with humans also comes with some risks. Bats may be exposed to chemical pollutants, particularly preservation chemicals used on lumber or during pest control measures. Bats may also be at risk of direct persecution or they may die accidently if trapped within buildings. In general, eviction of bats from buildings should follow the general rule of avoidance–mitigation–compensation. When considering conservation measures for synanthropic bats, it is most important to assess the role of the building for different life stages of bats. Construction work at buildings should be conducted in a manner that minimizes disturbance of bats. Artificial roosts can replace lost roosts, yet bats will often not accept alternative roosts. Demographic changes in human populations may lead to the abandonment of buildings, for example, in rural areas and to increased conflicts in urban areas when old buildings are replaced by new buildings or when previously unoccupied space in buildings is renovated. We advocate maintenance and enhancement of roosts for synanthropic bats, in addition to outreach and education campaigns, to improve the tolerance of humans for synanthropic bats.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages427-462
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9783319252209, 9783319252186
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Fingerprint

bat
Chiroptera
roosting
chemical pollutant
Hibernation
Pest Control
hibernation
outreach
pest control
lumber
pregnancy
lifestyle
rural areas
human population
urban areas
coexistence
Reproduction
Ecosystem
Life Style
control methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Voigt, C. C., Phelps, K. L., Aguirre, L. F., Corrie Schoeman, M., Vanitharani, J., & Mukhtar Ahmad, Z. A. (2015). Bats and buildings: The conservation of synanthropic bats. In Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World (pp. 427-462). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25220-9_14

Bats and buildings : The conservation of synanthropic bats. / Voigt, Christian C.; Phelps, Kendra L.; Aguirre, Luis F.; Corrie Schoeman, M.; Vanitharani, Juliet; Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar.

Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World. Springer International Publishing, 2015. p. 427-462.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Voigt, CC, Phelps, KL, Aguirre, LF, Corrie Schoeman, M, Vanitharani, J & Mukhtar Ahmad, ZA 2015, Bats and buildings: The conservation of synanthropic bats. in Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World. Springer International Publishing, pp. 427-462. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25220-9_14
Voigt CC, Phelps KL, Aguirre LF, Corrie Schoeman M, Vanitharani J, Mukhtar Ahmad ZA. Bats and buildings: The conservation of synanthropic bats. In Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World. Springer International Publishing. 2015. p. 427-462 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25220-9_14
Voigt, Christian C. ; Phelps, Kendra L. ; Aguirre, Luis F. ; Corrie Schoeman, M. ; Vanitharani, Juliet ; Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar. / Bats and buildings : The conservation of synanthropic bats. Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World. Springer International Publishing, 2015. pp. 427-462
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