They are a Heritage Lottery funded project, run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, that aims to improve the conservation of bats on farmland.
Bat populations declined significantly in Britain during the 20th century due to a combination of factors including loss of roost and feeding sites. Bats’ roosts in Britain are protected under legislation, but foraging sites are unprotected, making them susceptible to land use changes. As over 25% of land in Britain is arable farmland, it is important that they understand how they can reduce the impacts of agriculture on bat feeding sites.
Over the next year they will be working with landowners across Hampshire and Dorset to understand which arable habitats are attractive to bats today and promote these habitats to farmers to aid bat conservation.
Bat-ground on bats
Bats account for nearly a quarter of British mammals and are unique in their ability to fly. There are about 1,240 bat species worldwide, only 18 of which are known to live in the UK. These species eat insects such moths, midges and beetles and hunt for insects at night using a high frequency navigation system called echolocation. Echolocation is also known as biological sonar, because the bat emits calls out to its surroundings and listens to the echoes of those calls to build up a sonic map of their environment. Each bat species can be identified according to its echolocation call characteristics, such as call duration and call frequency.
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