INTERREG V-A project: protectBats

Identifying local-extinction agents of the lesser horseshoe bat in the Bavarian-Tyrolean Alpine space

Logo INTERREG Austria Bavaria
Bats The bat species lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) hanging from the woodwork in a nursery roosts, they are classified as "critically endangered" on the Red List in Bavaria and as "endangered" in Austria; Foto: Anton Vorauer

At the size of a thumb, the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) is among the smallest European bats. It is included in Appendices II and IV of the EUs Flora Fauna Habitat Directive and thus strictly protected. In the second half of the 20th century, the lesser horseshoe bat experienced catastrophic extinctions. In the Bavarian-Tyrolean Alpine space, for example, about half of the 100 known occurrences vanished. Possible extinction agents include environmental chemicals.

The project protectBats sets out to

  • document the current nursery roosts of the lesser horseshoe bat in the Bavarian-Tyrolean Alpine space,
  • test heavy metals and organochlor-pesticides as extinction agents by comparing historical and current nursery roosts, and
  • make recommendations for all stake holders how to avoid future extinctions.

Project partner

Lead partner is the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck with the Research Group of Molecular Ecology. Project partners from Austria are the Coordination Office for Bat Protection and Research in Austria.

Project partners from Bavaria are the Coordination Office for Bat Protection in Southern Bavaria, the Lower Nature Conservation Authority of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Bavarian Environment Agency.

The results of the project will be incorporated into further research work at the University of Innsbruck, Chair of Molecular Ecology, and will serve the project partners for long-term bat conservation as a whole.


The project (TIR 19) is financially supported by the EU programme INTERREG V-A Austria/Bavaria 2014-2020. The project is co-financed by the Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck.

Project management

Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck, Chair of Molecular Ecology


Schlick-Steiner, Birgit Christiane,
Steiner, Florian Michael,
Röß, Cornelia.