We’ve known for some time that many of
our bat species have been declining. Have been in free fall decline. Persecution. Destruction of roost sites. Habitat destruction in the countryside. Loss of insect food and so on, have all played their part. Some are now recovering. We know this from tracking of individual bats through standardised surveys, including bat box inspections. We have 18 species of bats in the UK and Republic of Ireland. About a quarter of mammals anyway are bats So they’re an amazingly important part of our mammalian order, or our wildlife. They’re not often seen though because, obviously, they fly at night. And they’re roosting sometimes in inaccessible places during the day. The bat boxes allow us access to those bats, and it also allows us a deep insight if we weigh them, measure them, perhaps tag them. Now that means we do have to catch the bats to see what kind of bat it is, what species, what sex it is, what reproductive condition it’s in and so on. And you need to be specially trained to
handle bats. You absolutely must not harm the bat and the bat must not harm you. Those bat boxes are something of a life
line where you don’t have many crevices or
cavities or alternative natural roost sites. It takes a while for populations to recover when they have been affected by insecticides or land use changes, or persecution, habitat loss and so on. So the recovery phase will take a long while, and I’m delighted to say that some species are recovering now.