‘Bat Beacon’ in Sidmouth to show flying creatures ‘aren’t as scary as we think’

Savanna Myszka in the Donkey Sanctuary's new Bat Beacon. Ref shs 40-16TI 9179. Picture: Terry Ife

Savanna Myszka in the Donkey Sanctuary's new Bat Beacon. Ref shs 40-16TI 9179. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

New attraction at The Donkey Sanctuary

An interactive centre focussing on a rare species of bat has been opened to the public to help secure the flying mammal’s future.

A ‘Bat Beacon’ has been installed at The Donkey Sanctuary as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, aiming to increase visitors’ awareness of the ‘fantastic’ creature.

Ruth Angell, wildlife and conservation co-ordinator at the charity, said: “They are fantastic and a really interesting species, but they are struggling. It’s a mix of getting people involved, but flagging up that they are struggling.”

Devon Wildlife Trust, which runs the bat project, is working with a number of partners, including the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to assist landowners to enhance their sites for the bats and engage the community to help them.

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Pete Youngman, from the East Devon AONB team, said: “We need to ensure that they are valued beyond the life of the project, so Bat Beacons are ways of raising the profile of bats, their habitat needs and their life story - because as they only come out at night, most people will not get an opportunity to see them flying around.

“These beacons will tell their story in a variety of ways, through interactive, fun games, live footage and exciting photographs. The Donkey Sanctuary is an ideal partner to host this beacon as it has a large number of people visit.

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“To realise that we can all do something to help them survive in the future would be good and, finally, to see that bats are not as scary as we might sometimes think.”

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