Conservation: Halting the decline
Naracoorte Caves is open. There are restrictions on the number of people that can undertake tours at any one time. Some cave tours can now be booked online, or you can visit and enjoy a tour by booking directly at the Wonambi Visitor Centre.
Following the observed decline in population size at Bat Cave, research and community action has focussed on trying to understand the causes and possibly remedies for the loss. These investigations have covered a range of possible factors including loss of foraging habitat, threats in over-wintering sites (e.g., predation), disease and chemical poisoning (see Health and Disease for research details).
Observations made by the site staff and researchers on the health of the bats form an important source of information to better understand how the bats are affected by external factors. In 2009 a Regional Action Plan was developed to halt their decline in southeastern South Australia. This plan is complemented by the National Recovery Plan released in 2015 which outlines research and management objectives for the species across its range into Victoria.
As highlighted in these plans, there is still much to understand about the ecology, biology and behaviour of the bats to enable better decision making for their conservation.
Bourne, S. 2007. The impact of the drought on the bats. Abstracts from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales and Australasian Bat Society Symposium on the Biology and Conservation of Australasian Bats. Australasian Bat Society Newsletter 28, 35.
Bourne, S. and Hamilton-Smith, E. 2007. Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii and climate change. Australasian Bat Society Newsletter 28, 67–69.
Kerr, G.D. and Bonifacio, R.S. 2009. Regional Action Plan for the Southern Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii in the South East of South Australia. Department for Environment and Heritage.
Lumsden, L. and Jemison, M. 2015. National Recovery Plan for the Southern Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.