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Bats versus cats and wind turbines

Wind turbines kill, on average, two bats a month, says a newly published study. The New York Times clarifies this threat:

A new study of wind turbines in Britain found that each turbine killed one to two bats each month on average… The risks to birds of the blades of wind turbines are becoming well understood, but the risk to bats, while known, has been poorly defined until now, said Fiona Mathews, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of mammalian biology at the University of Exeter in England.

Bats face other threats. Among those threats: cats. An Italian/British study published 19 2014 now implies that cats pose an even greater threat to bats than are wind turbines:


Curiosity killed the bat: domestic cats as bat predators,” Leonardo Ancillotto, Maria Tiziana Serangeli, and Danilo Russo, Mammalian Biology-Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, vol. 78, no. 5, 2013, pp. 369-373. The authors, at Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy, and the University of Bristol, UK, report:

“We based our study on 1012 records of bats admitted at four wildlife rescue centres in peninsular Italy in 2009–2011…. predation events concentrate in sparse-urban and rural areas, where free-ranging cats occur more frequently… some individual cats may specialize in capturing bats…. Our analysis covered a broad geographical area over a relatively long period and suggests that the threat posed to bats by cats may be significant.”

Only future studies can tell, with any degree of documented, calm assurance, the relative dangers to bats — measured in gross deaths per annum — of cats versus wind turbines.

Other studies could be made to directly assess the relative dangers to birds — measured in gross deaths per annum — of cats versus wind turbines. Some work has already been done on that question.

BONUS: Video of a cat catching a bat, accompanied incidentally by human epithets:

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