A former colonial water purification pond, part of an old waterworks in Tainan, has become home for the Taiwanese leaf-nosed bat and is an increasingly popular tourist site.
The water purification pond was built during the Japanese colonial era as part of the Tainan Waterworks. It was decommissioned in 1981, before being designated a national historic site by the Ministry of the Interior in 2005.
Tainan Bureau of Cultural Affairs Director Yeh Tse-shan (葉澤山) said that when the bureau conducted repairs at the site in 2011, it was found that Taiwanese leaf-nosed bats had taken up residence in the purification pond.
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, Yeh said.
As a result, the bureau 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 the bats to cling to them. There are also two unsealed holes in the structure so that the bats can come and go freely, Yeh said.
The facility is to remain open to the public until the end of this month before it closes between March and September to coincide with the breeding season, Yeh added.
The Tainan Historic Sites Operation Division said people who want to visit the site 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 ecology, the Tainan Waterworks features architecture of the Japanese colonial era, with many areas showcasing the red-brick facades and wooden ceilings popular at that time.
The exterior of the water purification pond, made from natural stone and other materials, resembles a small fortress, the division said.
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