The missing bats

For years, Japanese environmentalists wondered where thousands of bats hid to escape the harsh winter of the country. The answer finally came: on a mountain on the island of Shikoku, one of the smallest in Japan.

The discovery was made by researcher Kei Nomiyama, who found 4,000 bats hibernating in a public tunnel in the Kochi mountains. This species – rhinolophus cornutus – is typical of Japan and, possibly, of China, and inhabits temperate forests. However, the last years have not been easy for this mammal – although it is not in danger of extinction in the list of IUCN, it suffers from the loss of habitat.

According to Japanese researchers, there are only 41,000 bats of this species on the globe, a decrease of 67% compared to the 1990s. “For many years bats researchers were looking for their winter colony since they disappeared Completely, “Nomiyama explained. “This phenomenon has always been a complete mystery to researchers.”

During the winter months, when temperatures drop dramatically, bats hibernate in caves. In this case, in a cave built by man. “The artificial cave is located on a mountain of Shikoku Island. To get there, I had to drive for three hours, ” explained.

Although the exact location of the cave is not known, since the researchers do not give the coordinates, it should be in a sort of channel of access to the mountain.


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