Could you help to monitor one of Britain’s rarest bats in your back garden, along your favourite walk or somewhere special in your neighbourhood?
Thanks to the support of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, a host of Devon organisations, including the Tamar Valley AONB and Devon Wildlife Trust, are working together to find out more about Devon’s greater horseshoe bats, and to raise public awareness around this enigmatic creature.
Rebecca Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says, “We’re asking communities who live around the Tamar and Tavy Valleys to get involved in a bat survey. By placing bat detectors around this landscape, we will be able to find out where the bats forage and what their preferred features are”.
Ed Parr Ferris, Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project Manager, explains the importance of finding out more about this particular species of bat. “The British population of greater horseshoe bats is thought to have declined by a staggering 90% in the last 100 years. They were once found across Wales and southern England, but are now limited to the south west and south Wales, with an internationally important population found in Devon. All data will be sent back to volunteers so that you know what you’ve found in your area.
Ed continues, “They are the largest of the 18 species of bat found in the UK, with a wingspan of 40cm. Greater horseshoe bats are fussy when it comes to roost sites and foraging needs and so are very sensitive to habitat disturbance”.
Please get in touch if you would like to get involved in recording greater horseshoes and other bats around your home and local countryside this summer and autumn. Full training will be provided to help identify suitable locations and how to use the recording device.
For further details, or to register your interest, please contact Emily Stallworthy at Devon Wildlife Trust (email@example.com or 01392 279244).