The Faculty of Biology were organized several BIOEXPOs, the purpose of which is to present students the importance of biology, the development of its branches and future possibilities. During the EXPO, the Department of Zoology presented its scientific activities and programs. Our team informed the visitors about the topics of our works and their importance in animal conservation, the rules of working in field conditions, what innovative technologies we use and showed the applications in laboratory conditions about their importance to the diversity of bats. Various stickers with pictures of bats printed by EUROBATS, as well as unique calendars with images of animals were distributed to the visitors.
In addition to BIOEXPOs, pupils from a number of schools come to visit the faculty of biology to understand how different spheres of biology are developing in Armenia and what opportunities they have if they would like to become an good biologist, zoologist. During this event, students are introduced to our activities, modern laboratories and equipment used during field works. A BioBlitz also an event such as expos which, is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period. There is a public component to many BioBlitzes, with the goal of getting the public interested in biodiversity. On 2022 Bio blitz was held in Yerevan Botanical garden where severel scientist present their work in a field. Our bat group present the visitors bats, their unique lifestyle, and biological peculiarities. Bat event was planned in the evening. After introduction talks on bats our team had a walk in aBotanical garden with visitors trying to records flying bats with bat detectors, (sm4 bat, echo meter touch 2.0, Batlogger, Pettersson D 240X).
The “International Bat Night” event has been celebrated worldwide since 1997, which is implemented by the “Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats” (EUROBATS) organization. It starts from the last week of August and is held all over the world.
The event is supported by the Armenian Association of Mammalogists NGO. The goal of the project is to present the bats distributed in Armenia, their biology and conservation issues. Such events help our society to preserve the rich but at the same time threatened bat fauna of Armenia.
In 2022 The “International Bat Night” event was held in Armenia on October 4, the International Day of Animal Protection. The event was organized by the employees of the Department of Zoology of YSU Biology Faculty (Ofelia Yelabekyan, Seda Adamyan) and members of the “Armenian Association of Mammalogists” environmental non-governmental organization (graduates of YSU Biology Faculty, Tatevik Harutyunyan, Anna Tadevsoyan). Entry to the event was free and students from Yerevan State University and other higher educational institutions, as well as students from abroad and senior and middle school students, took an active part. Lecturers of the Faculty of Biology of YSU Astghik Ghazaryan, Georgi Papov and the director of the Armenian Association of Mammalogists Tigran Hayrapetyan, as well as professor of the Khachatur Abovyan Pedagogical University Samvel Pipoyan gave lectures.
The participants of the event tried to use the modern methods of studying bats: they tried to do mist netting on the river, to record the flying bats with handheld and stationary ultrasound detectors, and analys with special software. Discussions were held on the importance of bats, their role in nature and also their role as a reservoir for various viruses, including the coronavirus.
Field surveys to check several caves were conducted from the 10th of December through the 21st of December 2022. The main goal of this survey was to check those caves where wintering colonies were recorded during previous years. Also, we checked some caves for the first time on the existence of bat wintering colonies. In total, six caves were checked for winter colonies located in different municipalities of Georgia (Map 1).
All caves are located in the karstic outcrops of Western Georgia. Bats were recorded in four caves excepting of caves Kidobana and Vardgora. On the other hand, we were not able to check the whole Cave Vardigora, since it is a big cave with siphonic lakes and areas, where climbing equipment is needed. Cave Melouri – is part of the Imereti Caves Protected Area and it has the status of a Natural Monument. In the winter of 2015, wintering colony of Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus euryale) consisting of more than 2000 individuals was recorded. In winter 2022, wintering colony of Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat was not recorded, however wintering colony of Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) consisting of about 280 individuals was recorded.
Cave Sakishore – There is a wintering colony of Schreibers’ Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) in this cave. In 2022, we counted about 250 individuals of these species. In March 2016, about 720 individuals of these species were recorded.
Cave Kidobana – no wintering colony was recorded.
Cave Vardigora – no wintering colony was recorded.
Cave Sachinkia – wintering colony of Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) was recorded: we recorded about 110 individuals of this species.
Cave Samertskhle klde – in this cave, wintering colony of Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) was recorded. Also, single individuals of the Blasius’s Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus blasii), Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), Schreibers’ Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) and Lesser mouse-eared bat (Myotis blythii) were recorded. It should be highlighted that the cave Samertskhle klde is the only cave known in Georgia where bats inhabit all year around. In this cave, we have wintering colony as well as a mixed maternity colony consisting of two species: Schreibers’ Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) and Lesser mouse-eared bat (Myotis blythii). By our estimation, this mixed maternity colony could be the largest in Georgia, with a number of more than 8000 individuals.