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The War-Damaged Urban Environment Becomes Deadly Trap for Bats: Case from Kharkiv City (NE Ukraine) in 2022

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Authors:
Anton Vlaschenko Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
National Scientific Center “Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine” Pushkinska St., 83, Kharkiv 61023 Ukraine

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0616-8050
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Alona Shulenko Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine

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Anzhela But Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Institute of Natural Sciences Valentynivska St. 2, Kharkiv, 61168 Ukraine

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Maryna Yerofieiva Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
Biological department, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University Svobody sq. 4, 61077 Kharkiv Ukraine

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Valeria Bohodist Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
Veterinary Medicine Department, Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University Stavishchanskaya St., 126, Bila Tserkva 09111 Ukraine

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Maksym Petelka Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5696-2984
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Anastasiia Vovk Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
National Scientific Center “Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine” Pushkinska St., 83, Kharkiv 61023 Ukraine

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https://orcid.org/0009-0004-7194-2609
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Kateryna Zemliana Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Institute of Natural Sciences Valentynivska St. 2, Kharkiv, 61168 Ukraine

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https://orcid.org/0009-0004-7259-7149
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Denys Myzuka National Scientific Center “Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine” Pushkinska St., 83, Kharkiv 61023 Ukraine

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1598-6338
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Kseniia Kravchenko Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne CH–1015 Lausanne Switzerland

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2235-3117
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Alona Prylutska Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center, Ukrainian Independent Ecology Institute Plekhanov st., 40, 61001 Kharkiv Ukraine
Max-Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour Am Obstberg 1, 78315 Radolfzell Germany

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0875-0573
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Abstract

The full-scale war in Ukraine negatively impacted populations of urban and semi-urban animals. This study examines the effects of war-related damages on urban populations of bats in Kharkiv city (NE Ukraine) during 2022. Our findings suggest that 45.1% of buildings used as wintering roosts for N. noctula were either partially damaged or completely destroyed by shellings, which may have led to the direct killing of approximately 7,000 bats. Additionally, the war-damaged urban environments in Kharkiv serve as a deadly trap for bats during the period of autumn migration or swarming. Bats flew into buildings’ interiors through windows that were left open or broken by blast waves, resulting in entrapment. The total number of N. noctula trapped inside buildings damaged by shelling was 2,836 individuals, with a death rate of approximately 30%. The group size of trapped bats was more numerous than in previous years, and the main findings were concentrated in war-damaged districts of the city.

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