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On the bat's wing do I fly – a remarkable journey

23 October 2015

In January 2014 a tiny bat made headlines in the UK, Europe and across the world after a remarkable voyage of 600 Km. That previous record has now been superseded by another individual from the same species, namely the Nathusius' pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii), who travelled a total of at least 1458km. This is a truly extraordinary feat for a bat that typically weighs the same as a 50p coin.

Last years bat had been ringed in Somerset and found dead in the Netherlands. The individual that was found this year was alive and well after its incredible North Sea crossing of at least 1458km as the bat/crow flies.

The bat was ringed by a research team in team in Latvia on the 20th of August 2015. The Latvian team were carrying out research into bat migration, a topic we still no little about, and had placed small rings on over 4000 individual bats. This particular bat (carrying ring number SA4722) was re caught at Rye Harbour (East Sussex) on the 10th of October as part of the Nathusius’ pipistrelle project. A truly astonishing journey in just 50 days for such a tiny bat which is no bigger than your thumb.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle pilot project (funded by PTES) started after last years incredible find. The project is a collaboration between Daniel Hargreaves (who leads the project and was involved in this years and last years find), local bat groups, Bat Conservation Trust and University of Exeter. This year’s find involved members of the Susses Bat Group, Sally-Ann Hurry and Roger Jones.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle project aims to find out more about this species in Britain. Research has shown that it is strongly migratory in continental Europe. In the UK, Nathusius' pipistrelle has sometimes been considered rare but may simply be under-recorded. It is often found at large waterbodies, particularly during its autumn migration period. The project is keen to build on the last two years success and needs to secure further funding in order to continue working towards understanding these remarkable small bats.

To contribute to the work by Bat Conservation Trust: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/get_involved.html

Contact: Joe Nunez at jnunez-mino@bats.org.uk or 0207 820 7168 for more information, images and interviews.

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