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Citizen science delivers latest trends in UK bat populations

22 May 2015

Bats across the UK have suffered significant declines in the past, particularly in the second half of the twentieth century. But thanks to our dedicated network of volunteer surveyors who take part in the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP), we can see some promising signs of recovery for some species.  The latest results from the programme, which examines population trends in 11 UK bat species across a total of almost 6,000 sites, suggest that all species monitored are showing stable or increasing trends since monitoring began in 1997.

The 2014 Annual Report reveals that five species currently show statistically significant increases with the remaining 6 species that are monitored showing stable trends.

Brown long-eared bat in flight (Hugh Clark)

Philip Briggs, NBMP Projects Manager, explains: The continuing pattern of increasing or stable trends we are seeing from bat monitoring is encouraging and suggests that positive conservation action and legal protection are helping our bat populations at the UK scale. We are now starting to detect some differences in trends for each country and are working towards collecting more data to enable us to get a clearer picture of how bat species are faring at the country level.

The National Bat Monitoring Programme is run by the Bat Conservation Trust, in partnership with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and supported and steered by Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and Scottish Natural Heritage. At present sufficient data are collected by the programme to produce population trends for 11 of the UK’s 17 resident bat species. Separate trends have been included for England and Wales where there is sufficient survey coverage. Read the full report or find species pages summarising the surveys and results for each bat species monitored.

Click here to find out more about the National Bat Monitoring Programme or sign up to take part in our surveys this summer.

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