„Natural monument Mišarica“ – 9 years in waiting Celebration of International Biodiversity Day
At International Biodiversity Day, members of Center for Environment visited the cave Mišarica near Banjaluka and pointed out insufficient protection and preservation of the subterranean ecosystems, which are the centers of karst diversity, but unfortunately threaten to be destructed.
This year’s Biodiversity Day we dedicate to subterranean ecosystems, unduly neglected centers of Bosnian and Herzegovinian nature’s diversity. One extraordinary example is Mišarica cave, natural pearl located in the foothill of the Džombića rock, near the village Bijeli Potok, ten kilometers eastern from Banjaluka. During the summer in Mišarica are formed impressive bat maternity colonies with two species: Greater mouse-eared bat and Schreiber’s bent-winged bat. This colony is among the biggest in the Balkans.
„Every year the number of bats in this colony is drastically lower, and the main reason is constant disturbance of bats by human activities like fires inside the cave and destruction of subterranean structures, especially in the periods of the year when the bats are the most sensitive. The cave is vulnerable because it is accessible by local roads, so it is very important to make adequate protection strategy to avoid or minimize ecological incidents”, pointed out Jasmin Pašić from Center for Environment.
Unlike surface habitats that are changeable, subterranean habitats have relatively constant conditions. The animal populations that live in the caves are small in comparison with the populations on the surface, and many species are listed as endangered and are very sensitive to changes of habitat conditions. Also, species that live in our subterranean ecosystems are often endemic and/or relict.
„The fact that there is such a big bat maternity colony in this cave is good enough argument to legally protect the Mišarica cave and save already damaged ecosystem. The process of protection was initiated in 2007, when the study of protection was made and given to Ministry, in order to declare Mišarica as natural monument. The reason why this process is stopped is unknown, so we will ask authorities to continue with the process and urgently protect this cave”, added Pašić.
Over 50% of the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina is covered with karst. This is a big territory with specific morphological and hydrological conditions, but also with rich underground biodiversity, which is mostly unstudied, underestimated and unprotected in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The International Biodiversity Day, 22nd May is declared by the United Nations in order to point how important is to stop the extinction of many animal and plant species, and how endangered different ecosystems are.