|© Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org|
The UN has declared 2011-2012 the Year of the Bat. Bats may be mysterious and misunderstood, but the earth’s only flying mammals are essential to our global environment. Discover how bats contribute to our rich biodiversity and well-being, through pollination, seed dispersal, insect control and other eco-services in rainforests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, deserts and cities.
See here for more details about the UN Year of the Bat.
In NPWS we have several bat related projects up and running and you can find out more about them on this Bat Page.
The Centre for Irish Bat Research (CIBR) was established in 2008. This is a cross border initiative based at both University College Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, and Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The centre’s flagship project examines three of Ireland’s rarest Myotis species, the Natterer’s bat (M. nattererii), the Whiskered bat (M. mystacinus) and the Brandt’s bat (M. brandtii). Little was know about the population status, distribution and ecology of these bats in Ireland, but through an intensive programme of lab work and field work CIBR have been collecting the necessary data to change all that. The Centre is also developing monitoring methods for these rare woodland bats. See more about CIBR here.
|Leisler's Bat (Photo: Greenaway)|
NPWS is running a nation-wide Bat Monitoring Programme. The programme consists of 4 separate monitoring schemes:
Car transect survey – A novel protocol has been devised to monitor bats while driving (Irish Wildlife Manual No 19: [2,763KB ]), a three year project to identify and monitor suitable brown long-eared bat roosts took place between 2008 and 2010. The final report is now being prepared and will appear here shortly.
|Brown long-eared bat (Photo: Greenaway)|
Lesser horseshoe survey - An ongoing programme of winter and summer counts at important lesser horseshoe bat roosts continues to be carried out by NPWS regional staff. Approximately 150 summer sites and 100 winter sites are monitored every year.
There are 9 different species of bats in Ireland, some very rare, others still quite widespread. These fascinating mammals depend on buildings for roosts at different times of the year. Bats rarely cause any problems when they roost in houses and many householders all over Ireland have lived happily with their bats for many years. Learn more about living with bats here: Bats in Houses leaflet