Save British long-eared bats


This video from England is called Rare Grey Long Eared Bat Rescue.

From Wildlife Extra:

One of Britain’s rarest mammals needs greater protection to survive

New research shows just 1000 grey long-eared bats remain in the UK and numbers are declining.

August 2013. Dr Orly Razgour, research fellow at the Biological Sciences unit of the University of Bristol, has called for grey long-eared bats to be afforded ‘UK Priority Species’ status; Dr Razgour stated that “The UK’s grey long-eared bats need greater conservation efforts before we lose them” .

Just 1000 animals, and declining

Dr Razgour is the lead author of a new management plan. It’s based on new research she conducted into the species at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with the Bat Conservation Trust. Her research has shown the estimated population of these bats in the UK is around 1,000 animals and the population is declining. Prior to her study it had been hoped the bats were more numerous, sadly her findings confirm how very rare they are.

Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, South coast and 1 record from Wales

The bats are confined to small pockets along the south coast of England, including the Isle of Wight, with a small number found in the Channel Islands and a single record from South Wales.

Protection for roost sites

The UK grey long-eared bat population comprises two distinct genetic groups and Dr Razgour is concerned that the low numbers mean the future survival of the species in the UK is questionable, unless more is done to protect the remaining few. She calls for more work to identify, monitor and protect maternity roost sites, where female bats raise their young, and hibernation sites.

Dr Razgour said: “Despite being one the rarest UK mammals, up until recently there was very little known about the grey long-eared bat and what it needs to survive. Studying the grey long-eared bat, I realised that the plight of this bat demonstrates many of the threats and conservation challenges facing wildlife, from the effects of habitat loss and climate change to the problem of small isolated populations.

Decline and fragmentation

The UK grey long-eared bat population has been declining and has become fragmented in the past century. This decline and fragmentation is likely to be in response to the dramatic decline of lowland meadows and marshlands, the bat’s main foraging habitats. The long-term survival of the grey long-eared bat UK population is closely linked to the conservation of these lowland meadows and marshland habitats. The conservation management plan is calling to prioritise the conservation status of the grey long-eared bat and use this bat as a flagship species to promote the conservation and restoration of lowland grasslands.”

Lowland meadows and marshland habitat

Lowland meadows and marshland habitats have all but disappeared in the UK following changes to land management and farming practices in the latter half of the last century. As these bats prey on agricultural pests, encouraging these bats in the farmed landscape may benefit the wider farming community if bat numbers increase dramatically.

Traditionally a cave-dwelling species grey long-eared bats have become dependent on our buildings for roost sites. Their roost requirements are specific; they need large open spaces in lofts and barns close to foraging habitat. These roosts are under threat from building development and Dr Razgour is calling for identification, monitoring and protection of roost sites and their surrounding grassland area.

Key findings of Dr Razgour’s research:

The grey long-eared bat should be afforded UK Priority Species status by the statutory bodies: Natural England, DEFRA and JNCC
Maternity roosts and hibernation sites need to be identified, monitored and protected
The landscape around and between roosts needs to be protected to increase grassland foraging habitat

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has put a call out for volunteers to help with this year’s bat survey in Norfolk. The Norfolk Bat Survey (www.batsurvey.org) was very successful in collecting valuable information about bats in the county in 2013. Plans this year are for the survey to be even bigger and better: here.

‘Panda Bat’: Researchers Discover New Genus Of Striped Creature, Niumbaha superba, In South Sudan (PHOTOS): here.

Too bright: artificial lights deter bats, threaten forests: here.

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