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article imageBritish bat numbers increase after years of decline

By Tim Sandle     Dec 28, 2014 in Environment
Numbers of bats from the the most common species found in the U.K. are stable or increasing following several years of decline. The rise in bat populations has come from a key citizen science project.
The positive news has come from the The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT). The information about bat populations was derived from data collected enlisted by some 3,500 volunteers, who took part in the BCT annual National Bat Monitoring Programme. This is one of the largest animal related citizen science projects run in the U.K.
The BCT says that the study is important for the following reasons:
"Bats account for almost a third of all mammal species in the UK and occupy a wide range of habitats, such as wetlands, woodlands, farmland, as well as urban areas. They can tell us a lot about the state of the environment, as they are top predators of nocturnal insects and are sensitive to changes."
With the new study, observational data was collated from 3,272 sites across the U.K. between1997 to 2012. According to the BBC's analysis of the report, he results revealed a "generally favourable picture" and "signs of recovery" for bats over the monitoring period. The most encouraging news was for the bat species Daubenton and Brandt. Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii), is a Eurasian bat with quite short ears. It ranges from Britain to Japan. Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii) is a species of vesper bat. It is sometimes called the "whiskered bat."
One species is, however, still in trouble., This is the soprano pipistrelle. The soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) is a small bat usually found in wetland habitats, for example around rivers and lakes.
The full report has been published in the journal Biological Conservation, in a paper headed "Citizen science reveals trends in bat populations: The National Bat Monitoring Programme in Great Britain."
For details on future BCT campaigns see the U.K. national bat programme.
In related bat news, with the deadly fungus that has ravaged bat populations in North America, Digital Journal recently reported that white-nose syndrome appears linked, in part, to the seasonal dynamics of infection and transmission. This information could help with bolstering bats resistance.
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