On Thursday 08 September 2022, the Castle of Freÿr hosted a symposium on conservation actions in favour of bats, organised by Natagriwal asbl and the Public Service of Wallonia (SPW) as part of the final conference of the LIFE BNIP.
The event was attended by 110 people, mainly field and nature managers (agents of the Department of Nature and Forests, representatives of the SPW, representatives of environmental associations). It was part of the communication concerning the habitat and species action plans designed and drafted during the LIFE BNIP project.
The objective of the symposium was to exchange knowledge about conservation in favour of bats, both from a technical and strategic point of view. The morning lectures were an opportunity to present the concrete actions implemented for these species in Wallonia, but also in Flanders, Brussels and French Lorraine.
The Castle of Freÿr is currently home to an important colony (summer shelter or maternity) of two threatened bat species: Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) and Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus). Both species are protected at European level under the 1992 Habitats Directive.
Following the morning conference, a field visit was made to a conservatory grazed orchard that has benefited from ecological restoration subsidies from the Walloon Rural Development Programme. Grazed orchards are indeed favourable habitats for many species, including bats which use them as hunting grounds. The Greater horseshoe bat moves towards these areas using the elements of the hedges to move around and hunt by perching on vertical elements. With these arrangements, the bats have both shelter and food at the Castle of Freÿr!