Wind Farms in Cádiz Pose Grave Threat to Bat Populations Study Finds

Wind Farms Pose Grave Threat to Bat Populations Study Finds

A recent study conducted by the Doñana Biological Station (EBD) in collaboration with the University of Lund (Sweden) and the University of Seville, and published in the specialized journal Acta Chiropterologica, has unveiled the alarming impact of wind farms on bat populations in Cádiz, Spain. This research, led by the EBD-CSIC, a branch of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), sheds light on the severe consequences of wind turbines on local bat populations, with a significant number of species facing threats.

The Dire Consequences . Wind Farms Take a Heavy Toll on Bats

The study reveals that wind farms in Cádiz are responsible for the deaths of nearly a million bats annually, representing a dire threat to these flying mammals. Shockingly, this toll affects over half of the bat species present in Spain.

Researchers analyzed data on bat mortality gathered from 2005 to 2016 in wind farms across the Andalusian province. This comprehensive examination led to unsettling findings.

The Impact on Bat Populations

The study’s lead author, Sonia Sánchez, highlights the devastating impact on sedentary bat species in the region. Unlike migratory bats in other parts of the world, these local species suffer greatly due to the high mortality rates associated with wind turbines.

Albino or leucistic bat in Montjuic
Wind Farms Pose Grave Threat to Bat Populations Study Finds

The research questions the efficiency of existing environmental surveillance programs for bat and small bird protection. These programs are currently inadequate, especially when it comes to detecting high mortality rates among these creatures.

Protection measures to protect bats around wind farms

Sonia Sánchez emphasizes the urgency of adopting effective preventive and mitigation measures to safeguard threatened bat species. While wind energy is crucial for combating climate change, a balance must be struck between energy generation and biodiversity protection.

This study underscores the pressing need for action to protect bat populations in the face of expanding wind farms. The findings urge us to reevaluate environmental surveillance programs and implement more effective methods. Additionally, measures such as temporarily shutting down turbines during high bat activity periods are essential to mitigate the impact of renewable energy development on these vital species. It’s imperative that we prioritize the coexistence of green energy and biodiversity in our efforts to combat climate change.

Further reading

Sánchez-Navarro, S., Gálvez-Ruiz, D., Rydell, J., & Ibáñez, C. (2023). High Bat Fatality Rates Estimated at Wind Farms in Southern Spain. Acta Chiropterologica. DOI: 10.3161/15081109ACC2023.25.1.001

Original article in Spanish here:

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