Here we document the first record of a bat fatality at a wind energy facility in the Western Cape, South Africa. Numerous wind energy facilities are being developed across the country and there is uncertainty about the local and cumulative impacts these facilities will have on bats. We undertook a pilot study at the Darling National Demonstration Wind Farm Project in the Western Cape to determine if bats are being killed by wind turbines at the facility. We found one bat carcass during the study period, identified as an adult female Neoromicia capensis (A. Smith, 1829). Necropsy revealed that the bat appeared healthy but both lungs had obvious pulmonary haemorrhaging and had collapsed. Histological examination revealed extensive haemorrhaging in the lungs consistent with barotrauma, suggesting wind turbine induced mortality. The bat had no major external injuries or signs of having been struck by a turbine blade. However, direct collision with a turbine blade cannot be excluded as the cause of death. This study confirms that wind energy facilities in South Africa do have the potential to kill bats, which could have implications for ecosystem function and the conservation of bats in the region.
Bat Fatality at a Wind Energy Facility in the Western Cape, South Africa
Title: Bat Fatality at a Wind Energy Facility in the Western Cape, South Africa
April 01, 2013
Journal: African Bat Conservation News
Aronson, J.; Thomas, A.; Jordaan, S. (2013). Bat Fatality at a Wind Energy Facility in the Western Cape, South Africa. African Bat Conservation News, 31, 9-12.