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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The protection of the bat community in the Dupnisa Cave System, Turkey, following opening for tourism

Published source details

Paksuz S. & Özkan B. (2012) The protection of the bat community in the Dupnisa Cave System, Turkey, following opening for tourism. Oryx, 46, 130-136


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Impose restrictions on cave visits Bat Conservation

A before-and-after study in 2002–2008 at a cave system in forested mountains of Turkey (Paksuz & Özkan 2012) found that restrictions put in place to reduce human disturbance resulted in an increase in the number of 15 bat species using two caves in the system. Maximum counts of bats in the two caves were higher after the cave system was opened to tourism and restrictions were put in place (before: 42,800 hibernating and 7,900 breeding bats; after: 54,600 hibernating and 11,000 breeding bats). A third cave in the system, which remained closed to tourism, had similar numbers of bats throughout the study period. Before opening to tourism, recreational users had made frequent uncontrolled visits to the caves. After opening for tourism in 2003, gates were installed on two entrances, daily and seasonal timing of visits were controlled by security guards, tourists were guided along set routes away from colonies with time limits for visits, information signs were erected, and lights were switched off outside of visiting times. The study does not distinguish between the effects of different restrictions carried out at the same time Bat colonies were counted every 40 days with 15 surveys before (2002–2004) and 38 surveys after opening to tourism (2004–2008). Update 2018: The findings of this study have been challenged, see Furman et al. 2012.

Furman A., Çoraman E. & Bilgin R. (2012) Bats and tourism: a response to Paksuz & Özkan. Oryx, 46, 330–330.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Install and maintain cave gates to restrict public access Bat Conservation

A before-and-after study in 2002–2008 at a cave system in forested mountains of Turkey (Paksuz & Özkan 2012) found that installing cave gates, along with other restrictions to reduce human disturbance, resulted in an increase in the number of 15 bat species using two caves in the system. Maximum counts of bats in the two caves were higher after the cave system was opened to tourism and cave gates and other restrictions were put in place (before: 42,800 hibernating and 7,900 breeding bats; after: 54,600 hibernating and 11,000 breeding bats). The study does not distinguish between the effects of cave gating and other interventions carried out at the same time. A third cave in the system, which remained ungated and closed to tourism, had similar numbers of bats throughout the study period. Before opening to tourism, recreational users had made frequent uncontrolled visits to the caves. After opening for tourism in 2003, gates were installed on two cave entrances (horizontal iron bars with 200 mm spacing), daily and seasonal timing of tourist visits were controlled, information signs were erected, and lights were switched off outside of visiting times. Bat colonies were counted every 40 days with 15 surveys before (2002–2004) and 38 surveys after opening to tourism (2004–2008). Update 2018: The findings of this study have been challenged, see Furman et al. 2012.

Furman A., Çoraman E. & Bilgin R. (2012) Bats and tourism: a response to Paksuz & Özkan. Oryx, 46, 330–330.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)