Shooting of 'Expendables 2' Chased Away Bats - Researcher
The bat population in the Bulgarian Devetashka Cave, a key spot for spending the winter season, has been reduced to 1/4 by the recent filming of the blockbuster "Expendables 2", according to a Bulgarian zoologist.
"The shooting of the movie harms the bat habitat - with the placement of props, the cutting down of vegetation, as well as disturbance by the presence of large numbers of people and the noise they make," said Nikolay Simov from the Center for Bat Studies and Protection at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, as cited by the Focus news agency.
A special check conducted after the session showed that at present there are some 8,000 in Devetashka Cave, while last year they were 30,000, said Simov for Bulgarian Focus News Agency.
"What is even more alarming for us is that the legal regulations were not respected. The regional environmental inspectorate has no authority to give a permit for filming in this protected area," said Simov.
"The filming was in direct breach of the Bulgarian Law on Biological Diversity, which prohibits disturbing and chasing away protected species," specified he.
Simov added that the shooting was also in breach of the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats.
The researcher said he has been alarmed by environmentalists that another movie production is planning to come to Devetashka, and he vowed to press the case against that.
Earlier in November environmentalists protested against the planned filming of "Expendables 2" in the cave, saying this will disturb and chase away the animals.
The coming of an all-star team, including Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris, has been made somewhat of a media sensation in Bulgaria.
At the same time, the Devetashka Cave in central northern Bulgaria, Lovech Region, is considered one of the most important bat habitats in Europe.