The 32 Romanian bat species are protected through several laws. This protection and legislation, are applied to both colonies and single individual bats, which are found inside and outside the limits of protected areas. In other words, bats are protected everywhere in Romania. These laws are:

Law no. 13 from 1993, through which Romania ratified the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). As member, Romania is obliged to adopt necessary measures to protect wildlife and characteristic biotopes for plants and animals mentioned in the law’s annexes. All Romanian bat species are listed in Annexes II and III as protected or strictly protected species.

Law no. 13 from 1998, through which Romania ratified the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention). As member, Romania is obliged to act in favor of migratory species and sustain their favorable conservation status. Bat species from Romania, as well as those from the rest of the continent, are migratory species with unfavorable conservation status, thus they are all included in Annex II of this law.

Law no. 90 from 2000, through which Romania signed the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS Agreement). Among other things, in regard to bats and their resting places and habitats, member countries have the following fundamental obligations:

  • Art. III(1). Each Party shall prohibit the deliberate capture, keeping or killing of bats except under permit from its competent authority;
  • Art. III(2). Each Party shall identify those sites within its own area of jurisdiction which are important for the conservation status, including for the shelter and protection, of bats. It shall, taking into account as necessary economic and social considerations, protect such sites from damage or disturbance. In addition, each Party shall endeavour to identify and protect important feeding areas for bats from damage or disturbance.;
  • Art. III(3). When deciding which habitats to protect for general conservation purposes each Party shall give due weight to habitats that are important for bats;
  • Art. III(4). Each Party shall take appropriate measures to promote the conservation of bats and shall promote public awareness of the importance of bat conservation;
  • Art. III(6). Each Party shall take such additional action as it considers necessary to safeguard populations of bats which it identifies as being subject to threat and shall report under Article VI on the action taken;
  • Art. IV(1). Each Party shall adopt and enforce such legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary for the purpose of giving effect to this Agreement;
  • Art. IV(2). The provisions of this Agreement shall in no way affect the right of Parties to adopt stricter measures concerning the conservation of bats;

As a supplement to the EUROBATS agreement, respectively to the Law 90/2000, resolutions where drawn up, in regard to the procedures applied for protecting bat species: Resolution 4.3/2003 and 7.6/2014, which relate to the responsible factions in protecting bats and underground habitats identified as important for bats; Resolution 4.6/2003 and 7.6/2004, which relate to the capture and research of bats; Resolution 6.5/2010, which relate to the responsible factions in the ethics of bat research and the methodologies used during fieldwork.

Law no. 49 from 2011 for the approval of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2007 on the regime of the natural protected areas, conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna, with the scope of applying in national law the European Council Directives 92/43/EEC and 79/409/EEC. In Annex III of the Ordinance are listed the species for which it is necessary to create special areas of conservation (SAC) and special protection areas (SPA). 13 species of bats from Romania are mentioned in Annex III: 5 species of horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae), 7 species from the vesper bats (Vespertilionidae) and 1 from the bent-winged bats (Miniopteridae). According to the Habitats Directive, the sites where these species can be found must be protected under the umbrella of the Natura 2000 Network, respectively they must be managed in accordance to the ecological needs of these species.

According to Art. 33(1) of the Law 49/2011, a series of protective measures are imposed for all bat species of Community interest from Romania (Microchiroptera), respectively those species listed in Annex 4A of the law. According to Art.33 (1) “the following activities are forbidden for all species of terrestrial, aquatic and subterranean wild flora and fauna, listed in Annexes 4A and 4B, with the exception of birds, and which are found both within and outside natural protected areas: a) any form of harvest, capture, killing, destruction or injury of the specimen found in their natural habitat, in any stage of biological development; b) the deliberate intrusion upon a specimen during its activity of reproduction, growing, hibernation and migration; d) degradation and/or destruction of the reproducing or resting sites”. We must note that the provisions from Art.33(1) are imposed no matter the location of the species and specimens, respectively in any cave, no matter the protection category or the established class level.

Ministerial Ordinance no. 656 from 2014 for approving the Regional Action Plan for the management of bat species Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Myotis myotis, Myotis blythii, Myotis bechsteinii, Barbastella barbastellus, Miniopterus schreibersii. In accordance to the details of the MO no. 656/2014, within the limits of the Natura 2000 sites ROSCI0002 Apuseni, ROSCI0008 Betfia, ROSCI0062 Defileul Crişului Repede – Pădurea Craiului, ROSCI0240 Tășad, ROSCI0253 Trascău, there can be found a number of subterranean shelters in which it is imperious to limit the access of people in critical periods, such as those of hibernation and maternity.

Alongside legislation, bat protection in Romania should also consider the existence of the IUCN Red List, drawn up for every species and which contains an analysis of risk factors, with a classification of the species in a risk category and also pointing out the trend of populations. From the 32 bat species from Romania, 3 are included in the Vulnerable category (VU), 5 are Near Threatened (NT), for 12 species the population trend is in decline and for 9 species the population trend is unknown. IUCN recommends the protection of those areas, including caves, where the presence of these species is proven.

Table 1. Romanian bat species and national and international legislation on their protection. Roman Numbers represent the Annex numbers from the respective law, “+” symbol represents the presence of the species in the legal act.

Romanian name / Scientific nameL. 13/1993 (Bern Conv.)L. 13/1998 (Bonn Conv.)L. 90/2000 (EUROBATS Agreement)L. 49/2011 (Habitats Directive)OM 656/2014
Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)IIII+II, IV+
Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)IIII+II, IV+
Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale)IIII+II, IV
Blasius’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus blasii)IIII+II, IV
Méhely’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus mehelyi)IIII+II, IV
Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii)IIII+IV
Long-fingered bat (Myotis capaccinii)IIII+II, IV
Pond bat (Myotis dasycneme)IIII+II, IV
Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)IIII+IV
Brandt’s bat (Myotis brandtii)IIII+IV
Alcathoe whiskered bat (Myotis alcathoe)+IV
Steppe whiskered bat (Myotis aurascens)+IV
Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri)IIII+IV
Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus)IIII+II, IV
Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii)IIII+II, IV+
Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)IIII+II, IV+
Lesser mouse-eared bat (Myotis blythii)IIII+II, IV+
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)IIII+IV
Greater noctule (Nyctalus lasiopterus)IIII+IV
Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri)IIII+IV
Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)IIII+IV
Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii)IIII+IV
Parti-colored bat (Vespertilio murinus)IIII+IV
Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)IIII+IV
Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)IIII+IV
Kuhl’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii)IIII+IV
Nathusius’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)IIII+IV
Savii’s pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii)IIII+IV
Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)IIII+IV
Grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus)IIII+IV
Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus)IIII+II, IV+
Schreiber’s bat (Miniopterus schreibersii)IIII+II, IV+

Table 2. Romanian bat species and their conservation status at a global and European. IUCN categories: NT=near threatened, LC = least concert, DD = data deficient, VU = vulnerable.

Romanian name / Scientific nameRed List (IUCN)Population trend (IUCN)Red List (Europa)Population trend (Europa)
Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)LCDecreasingNTDecreasing
Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)LCDecreasingNTDecreasing
Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale)NTDecreasingVUDecreasing
Blasius’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus blasii)LCDecreasingVUDecreasing
Méhely’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus mehelyi)VUDecreasingVUDecreasing
Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii)LCDecreasingLCDecreasing
Long-fingered bat (Myotis capaccinii)VUDecreasingVUDecreasing
Pond bat (Myotis dasycneme)NTDecreasingNTDecreasing
Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Brandt’s bat (Myotis brandtii)LCStabileLCUnknown
Alcathoe whiskered bat (Myotis alcathoe)DDUnknownDDUnknown
Steppe whiskered bat (Myotis aurascens)LCStabileLCStabile
Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri)LCStabileLCUnknown
Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus)LCStabileLCStabile
Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii)NTDecreasingVUDecreasing
Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)LCStabileLCStabile
Lesser mouse-eared bat (Myotis blythii)LCDecreasingNTDecreasing
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Greater noctule (Nyctalus lasiopterus)VUDecreasingDDUnknown
Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)LCUnknownLCStabile
Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii)LCStabileLCUnknown
Parti-colored bat (Vespertilio murinus)LCStabileLCUnknown
Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)LCStabileLCUnknown
Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Kuhl’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii)LCUnknownLCIncreasing
Nathusius’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Savii’s pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii)LCStabileLCIncreasing
Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)LCStabileLCStabile
Gray long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus)LCUnknownLCUnknown
Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus)NTDecreasingVUDecreasing
Schreiber’s bat (Miniopterus schreibersii)NTDecreasingNTDecreasing

The legislation presented here was summarized by a group of specialists:

  • Szilárd Bücs (group coordinator)
  • Dragoș Bălășoiu, Asociația pentru Protecția Liliecilor din România
  • Daniela Borda, Emil Racoviță Speology Institute, Spelean Heritage Committee
  • Silviu Constantin, Emil Racoviță Speology Institute
  • Dr. Ioan Coroiu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
  • Adrian Done, Romanian Speology Federation
  • Csaba Jére, Asociația pentru Protecția Liliecilor din România
  • Dragoș Ștefan Măntoiu, Association Wilderness Research and Conservation
  • Irina Pocora, Asociația SistemIS
  • Farkas Szodoray-Parádi, Romanian Bat Protection Association