German wind turbines kill more than 200,000 bats every year. These mortality rates are quite high and may lead to significant decline in their population. The death of bats may not be sustainable.
Bats can typically produce one or two offspring annually, and recovery from the effect of deaths due to wind turbines may take a long time or not happen at all. This will significantly impact the ecosystem.
The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) conducted a study and found that bats that originated from the northeastern Europe got killed at German wind turbines. The Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat from the Baltic countries such as Russia and Belarus, and the Leisler’s bats and greater noctule bats that originated from the Baltic countries, Scandinavia and Poland have got killed. Common pipistrelle bats in local areas were also among the casualties.
Most bats get killed due to “barrotraumas” wherein the rapid pressure reductions that occur behind the turbine blades fatally damage the lungs and inner organs of the bats.
Bats play an important role in the ecosystem as they help control the population of pest insects. During spring and autumn, some species migrate between their wintering and breeding ranges across Europe. Presently more wind farms are being set up near forested areas to prevent disturbances to people. However, bats live in the tree canopies and get killed when they get hit by the turbine blades.
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