Former colonial waterworks becomes home to bat colony

2019/02/06 14:38:30 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Tainan's Cultural Affairs Bureau

Photo courtesy of Tainan's Cultural Affairs Bureau

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) A former colonial water purification pond, part of an old waterworks in southern Taiwan, has become home for Taiwan leaf-nosed bats and is an increasingly popular site with visitors.

The water purification pond was built during the Japanese colonial period as part of the old Tainan Waterworks in the southern city. It was decommissioned in 1981, and designated a national-level historic site by the Ministry of the Interior in 2005.

Tainan's Cultural Affairs Bureau (CAB) Director-General Yeh Tse-shan (葉澤山) said that when the bureau conducted repairs at the site in 2011, it was found that endemic Taiwan leaf-nosed bats had taken up residence in the purification pond.

Yeh said the cave-like structure and humid environment of the facility make it an ideal location for bats and about 400 have made the pond their home. As a result, the bureau has decided to turn the facility into a bat conservation site.

To improve the environment for the bats, the bureau has made the walls and ceilings inside the purification pond uneven and rough, so it is easier for them to cling to. There are also two unsealed holes in the structure so the bats can come and go freely, Yeh said.

The facility will remain open to the public until the end of February, but will close from March to September to coincide with breeding season, Yeh added.

Tainan's Historic Sites Operation Division said people who want to visit must book online at least seven days beforehand. There are four visiting periods per day, with a maximum of 20 visitors per visit.

In addition to its rich animal ecology, the old Tainan Waterworks features the architecture of the Japanese colonial era, with many areas showcasing the red-brick facade and wooden ceilings popular at that time. The exterior of the water purification pond, made from natural stone and stone imitation materials, resembles a small fortress.

(By Yang Sz-ruei and Chi Jo-yao)

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