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The Visit of the Representative of the European Commission as part of the LIFE GRECABAT Project "Greek Caves and Bats: Management Actions and Change of Attitude" in Kalavryta was successfully completed

The Visit of the Representative of the European Commission for the LIFE European Funding Program in the framework of the LIFE GRECABAT Project – LIFE17 NAT/GR/000522 entitled: "Greek Caves and Bats: Management Actions and Change of Attitude ", on January 11 and 12, 2023, was successfully carried out in Kalavryta and the Limnes Cave respectively.

In particular, on January 11, 2023, a technical and financial review of LIFE GRECABAT was held by representatives of the coordinator and its partners, in the presence of Mrs. Maria-José Aramburu, Project Advisor of the European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure & Environment (CINEA) of the European Commission and Mr. Nejib Benessaiah, Technical Advisor of NEEMO, External Monitoring Team of LIFE projects. During the meeting, the successful implementation of the project's actions was confirmed, while the next stages that are expected to be implemented until its end, on August 31, 2024, were discussed. The meeting was hosted in Kalavryta at the Information Center of the Management Unit of Helmos - Vouraikos National Park and Protected Areas of the Northern Peloponnese of the Natural Environment and Climate Change Organization.

On January 12, 2023 at the Information Center of the Limnes Cave in Kastria Achaia, the representatives of CINEA, NEEMO, the project team, the Municipality, the Municipal Public Enterprise of Kalavryta – Limnes Cave of Kastria, the Management Unit and others institutions had the opportunity to tour at the Cave and the Center, which has recently been completed and is expected to welcome schoolchildren, students and the public, after its official opening which will take place by spring. The meeting was welcomed by Mr. Athanasios Papadopoulos, Mayor of Kalavryta, who emphasized the importance of implementing actions of the LIFE GRECABAT project for the study and promotion of the area's biodiversity. The Information Center is also an integration space for the project, with the installation of two environmental interpretation panels on cave life, special equipment and a screen that will be connected to the advanced cave monitoring system that will be installed by the summer, as well as the autonomous virtual cave exploration device.

LIFE GRECABAT implements actions in many areas throughout the country. However, Kalavryta was chosen to hold the above meetings due to the significant progress in the implementation of actions, as well as its excellent cooperation with the Municipal Public Benefit Enterprise of Kalavryta - Kastria Limnes Cave.

It is worth noting that the scientists of the project in collaboration with the management of the Limnes Cave and the Management Unit of the National Park of Helmos - Vouraikos and Northern Peloponnese Protected Areas have been monitoring for the last two years the largest known colony of bats in Greece that was discovered in winter of 2019 in the non-visitable part of the cave, which is home for more than 20,000 bats (Miniopterus schreibersi) and 9 additional species at different times of the year. The following link shows the bat colony dynamics from the "Troglocamera", a prototype open source and materials camera designed and built in the framework of LIFE GRECABAT: The 30'' long video was created with 486 infrared photos over a period of 36 days (05/12/2022 to 11/01/2023).