Bats in the Tamar Valley should see a better future thanks to the generous early response to a Devon Wildlife Trust fundraising appeal – but more support is needed for the target to be met.
The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project works to secure the future of one of Europe’s rarest bats – and the wildlife-rich farmland and woodland they rely on. The project works around several key maternity roosts in Devon including one on the county boundary near Gunnislake.
Staff from the bat project, which is led by Devon Wildlife Trust working in partnership with local organisations such as Tamar Valley AONB, identified £26,000 of funding required for work to improve bat roost sites.
After the first month, the Homes for Bats appeal had reached 80% of that target, leaving £4800 still to raise.
Project Manager Ed Parr Ferris said: “We’re delighted to see such a generous response from local people. We’ve been working with children from Gulworthy and Gunnislake primary schools to inspire them about their local greater horseshoe bats and show them what amazing animals they are.”
Ed continued: “People in the Tamar Valley can feel proud that their landscapes can still support such special wildlife – but these bats have suffered around a 90% decline in England over the last century so they need all the help they can get. Every donation to our appeal really can help improve things for the valley’s wildlife.”
Tamar Valley AONB manager Corinna Woodall said: “Greater horseshoe bats, and the hedges, orchards and woodlands they rely on, are great examples of what a beautiful part of the country the Tamar Valley is. That’s why it’s so important that these areas are protected for nature. One of the reasons the Tamar Valley AONB is involved in the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project is to inspire people about the wonderful wildlife around us – so we hope that more local residents and visitors will support the Homes for Bats appeal this summer”.
The Homes for Bats appeal is trying to raise £26,000 to cover enhancement of at least one damaged maternity roost as well as restoration of insect-rich habitat around roosts such as the one near Gunnislake.
Thanks to match-funding of this project by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), every £35 donated to the appeal releases a further £65 of funds for bat conservation work from HLF.
Donations can be made online at www.devonwildlifetrust.org/homes-for-bats-appeal or by phoning Devon Wildlife Trust on 01392 279244