Rare bats helped by hedge

Donkey Sanctuary staff and volunteers have been working on creating new hedgerow habitat as part of

Donkey Sanctuary staff and volunteers have been working on creating new hedgerow habitat as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. Ref shs 12-16SH 7834. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Volunteers have provided Devon’s rare greater horseshoe bats with the perfect place to hunt after spending the day planting hedges.

The Donkey Sanctuary joined forces with the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project for the scheme to help repopulate the species to help secure its future. The bat has become endangered due to loss of habitat.

Ruth Angell, the sanctuary’s wildlife and conservation co-ordinator, praised the enthusiasm of volunteers who came out to help clear and lay several types of hedgerow.

She said: “Everybody knows about the greater horseshoe bats and we are really proud to have them foraging in our fields. They are a rare species and anything we can to help is really good.”

The greater horseshoe bat is so named due to the shape of its nose membrane and is a rare species found in South West England and Wales. It feeds off insects found in hedgerows around fields like The Donkey Sanctuary’s farm.

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The charity manages hedgerows to enhance the landscape and protect the natural environment as part of its higher level stewardship scheme with Natural England.

Ruth added: “Hedgerows are natural linear features which provide bats with connectivity between roost sites and foraging areas, and allow them to navigate their way across the landscape.

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“As well as providing flightlines for bats, healthy hedges provide food and shelter for other wildlife.”

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