Beer bat success

PUBLISHED: 21:00 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:52 17 June 2010

THE BAT conservation initiative centred on Beer Quarry Caves has so far proven to be instrumental. The three year landscape-scale programme, from 2008 to 2011, aims to identify where the rare Greater Horseshoe bats live and feed, work with landowners to e

THE BAT conservation initiative centred on Beer Quarry Caves has so far proven to be instrumental.

The three year landscape-scale programme, from 2008 to 2011, aims to identify where the rare Greater Horseshoe bats live and feed, work with landowners to enhance bat habitats and maternity roosts and to encourage people to learn more about the bats in their neighbourhood.

Greater Horseshoe bats were chosen for the initiative as they are one of the rarest of the 17 species of British bats-there are only an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 found only in the South West and South Wales.

The 2008 season has been very successful with a number of events taking place through the scheme.

There have been two bat detector training evenings and 21 bat detectives have been trained so far.

They have been patrolling the countryside and recorded two Greater Horseshoe bats- one is of a maternity roost of approximately 50 bats.

Dr Fiona Mathews, local bat expert and Exeter University lecturer, has led events at Lovehayne Farm and also at Offwell Woodland Education Centre.

It was a real turn-up for the books when Leissler's bats were caught - a first record for Devon.

Now winter is here the project hopes to provide the bats protection and make sure they hibernate safely.

When spring arrives it will once again be full steam ahead for the initiative when people involved will be finding out where the bats go in spring to feed and have their young.

They will also be working with the surrounding landowners to ensure that the bat numbers can increase over time by improving the habitat close to the maternity roosts.

For more information on the initiative visit http://www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk/Lookingoutforbats.html

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