The Northern Netherlands is known for seals being taken in and helped in Pieterburen, but its less known that bats have been caught and cared for, for more than twenty years
It’s in the village of Adorp to be precise, near Groningen, where Anja Sjoerdsma has been taking care of bats since 1998. But is now quitting: so many bats are being brought in that she can no longer handle the work.
Last year (2019) there was a huge peak in the number of bats brought in to the shelter: 222 (the average for the ten years prior was 81). Sjoerdsma, who is the driving force behind the shelter in Adorp, can no longer handle the influx of so many bats on her own.
By comparison: a shelter in Rotterdam caught about as many bats, but previously had seven specially trained or trained volunteers. In other provinces, no more than ten bats per year are collected per location. There are still a number of bats in hibernation in Adorp, where they stay in the shelter until they can go outside again in spring.
Anja Sjoerdsma is known to bat connoisseurs throughout the Netherlands for her exceptional results caring for bats. She started in 1998 with one injured bat, ten years ago she caught or received around ten bats a year. The numbers then increased: in the 2016-2018 period, more than a hundred came in every year.
Why so many?
The increase is due to the increased awareness and efficiency of animal ambulances, and a greater awareness of bats among the general public.
About a third of the bats collected came from the city of Groningen, a third from the rest of the province, and a third from neighbouring provinces of Drenthe and Friesland.
Most rescued bats are small, weakened and thinned dwarf bats that have come through a crack in a house and cannot find their way out. If they sit exhausted on the floor, they often fall victim to a cat.
Want to help?
Interested parties who want to help take over Anja’s tasks can report to: Thorhold Souilljee firstname.lastname@example.org
Image via Twitter user @VogelklasKarelschot