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What Works in Conservation 2018

William J. Sutherland
Lynn V. Dicks
Nancy Ockendon
et al.

2. Bat conservation

2.7 Threat: Human disturbance – caving and tourism

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Likely to be beneficial

● Impose restrictions on cave visits

1Two before-and-after studies from Canada and Turkey found that bat populations within caves increased after restrictions on cave visitors were imposed. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 70%; certainty 50%; harms 0%).


Trade-off between benefit and harms

● Use cave gates to restrict public access

3Ten studies in Europe, North America and Australia provide evidence for the effects of cave gating on bats, with mixed results. Four of the studies (one replicated) found more or equal numbers of bats in underground systems after gating. Two of the studies (one replicated) found reduced bat populations or incidences of cave abandonment after gating. Five studies (two replicated) provide evidence for changes in flight behaviour at cave gates. Assessment: trade-offs between benefits and harms (effectiveness 50%; certainty 60%; harms 50%).


No evidence found (no assessment)

5We have captured no evidence for the following interventions:

  • Educate the public to reduce disturbance to hibernating bats
  • Legally protect bat hibernation sites
  • Maintain microclimate at underground hibernation/roost sites
  • Provide artificial hibernacula for bats to replace disturbed sites

Table des illustrations

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