What is the 'Give a Bat a Home' appeal and why is it important? Paul Wilkinson, Senior Ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, explains more.
1. What is the Give a Bat a Home appeal and why is it important?
It’s crucial as the bat population across England and Wales face threats to their survival. To help we’ve launched our first national bat monitoring scheme to help give bats a much-needed home across the canal and river network. We want to protect these wonderful creatures by building bat boxes that will last for twenty years and provide roosts for a family of bats to raise their young away from harm.
2. To give us a bit of background, can you explain your role at the Canal & River Trust?
I am lucky enough to have worked as an ecologist for the Canal & River Trust since 2003. Part of my role involves raising awareness of bat preservation. In 2007 we set up our first community bat box scheme. The scheme is a great way of providing bat roosts and identifying which species are using the site. We know very little about the 18 or so species that we have in the UK – the Give a Bat a Home appeal is an extension of this so we can learn about and protect the species across our 2000 mile waterway network.
3. Do bats have a bad reputation with humans?
Most people don’t have contact with bats, so misconceptions can be common. They are also hard to find with large numbers of bats able to fit into incredibly small spaces. They can also fully navigate without light, so tend to be spotted in the dark. Reasons such as these make it hard for people to understand them – before we had the science to open their amazing world of course!
4. What would happen if we didn’t help bats?
Bats are a key element in our ecosystem – they eat large numbers of insects and protect us from disease. The pest control service that they provide is probably worth million alone! The decline of bats also has a ripple effect on other species, including owls, who need bats to survive.
5. Can you tell us an unusual bat fact?
Bats emit noise from their noses! Amazingly, some bats have managed to develop novel techniques to pounce on moths that might hear them coming. Moths have ears on their wings to listen out for bat echolocation so bats have learnt to modify their calls to sound like they are much further away – a cunning way to catch their prey.
6. How can we help?
Bats need our support – there are many ways you can help. Take some time to learn about them and spread the word about how misunderstood they are. As time goes by more and more roosting sites are being destroyed. Without these vital areas, bats lose safe places to sleep. A donation to our very first national bat monitoring scheme could go as far as protecting the life of a bat.
Our bats need you. Donate to our first ever national bat monitoring scheme and help us protect them from harm.
Last date edited: 11 November 2016