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Bat Group Bulletin No. 146

Bat Group Bulletin No. 145: 21st July 2017

  1. British Bat Survey: Request for Input & Invitation to Workshops
  2. Upcoming NBMP Bat Detector Workshops in Scotland
  3. Bearing Witness for Wildlife Training
  4. New BCT Advanced Bat Survey Techniques Level 2 Course
  5. Natural England Endoscopes for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor (VBRV) Trainers
  6. Southern Africa Bat Conference 2017
  7. Request for Bat Flies for PhD Research
  8. Late Night/Early Morning Bat Person Wanted for BBC Photography Project
  9. Environmental Regulation in the Face of Brexit – Online Survey
  10. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Awards Nominations
  11. RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Competition
  12. Bat Research Papers & Reports
  13. Key Dates for Your Diary

1. British Bat Survey: Request for Input & Invitation to Workshops

As you may have seen from a separate communication to bat groups, we’re delighted to say that a collaboration between BCT, researchers from University College London, the University of Oxford, and the British Trust for Ornithology, has been awarded funding from NERC to develop a new citizen-science bat survey for the NBMP. This survey, which we are calling the British Bat Survey, will incorporate the latest developments in monitoring technology and analysis. We will be developing and piloting the survey over 2017 and 2018.

One of the new technologies we would like to introduce is an interactive online results system. The primary purpose of the results system will be to provide British Bat Survey volunteers with an engaging and informative way of exploring survey results, so your feedback at this stage is hugely valuable. There are two ways that you can contribute your feedback:

  1. Online questionnaire – We’d be very grateful if you could take some time to complete a short online questionnaire about the kind of information you would like to see from the British Bat Survey (the deadline is Monday 24th July).  If you don’t already participate in the NBMP, please do take a look at the questionnaire as we’d value thoughts from all bat group members. Thank you to everyone who has completed the questionnaire so far.
  2. Attend a workshop – There are two workshops taking place, one in England on Sunday 6th August at the Attenborough Nature Centre, Nottingham, and another in Wales on Saturday 19th August at The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales, Bridgend. The sessions will introduce our ideas for the new survey and seek your input on survey approaches and options on reporting survey results back to participants. For more information please see the event flyers attached to this Bulletin. Booking for both workshops is essential as places are limited, so if you are interested once you’ve read the flyer please email Alison Fairbrass asap. It would be great if you could join us. Lunch will be provided!

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2. Upcoming NBMP Bat Detector Workshops in Scotland

There are two new NBMP workshops taking place in Scotland in July and September:

  • Thursday 27th July – Introductory bat detector workshop (Level 1) – St Fillans, Perth & Kinross (led by Andrea Hudspeth). This “Level 1” workshop is ideal for complete beginners and also people with some heterodyne bat detector experience who would like to brush up on the basic skills and learn how to take part in the NBMP Waterway Survey in August. To book your place see the online booking page.
  • Friday 1st September – Introductory bat detector workshop (Level 2) – Falkland, Fife (led by Claire Lacey). This “Level 2” workshop provides more in-depth training on bat ID using heterodyne bat detectors, focussing on four species. It is ideal for people who have attended the Level 1 workshop or already have a bit of bat detector experience, though complete beginners are also welcome. To book your place see the online booking page.

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3. Bearing Witness for Wildlife Training

This one day BCT course is for anyone wanting to improve their skills in recognising and reporting wildlife crime or when acting as a witness. This course is part of the Bearing Witness for Wildlife Conservation Wildlife Crime Project. The project recognises that wildlife crime is not currently recorded, investigated or prosecuted effectively and this training course will help us start addressing this need.

The course will be presented by Craig Fellowes assisted by our own Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer Pete Charleston. Between them they have over 60 years policing experience and almost 50 years investigating wildlife crime.

The Course content will include:

  • Recognising wildlife crime
  • Reporting wildlife crime
  • Assisting Police investigations
  • Acting as a witness of fact and an expert witness – what to expect during police investigations and in court
  • Conservation impact statements
  • Wildlife crime sentencing and Proceeds of Crime Act.

The costs is £50 for BCT members, £55 for non-members. The course is being subsidised by the Bearing Witness For Wildlife project, we have been able to keep the price for this pilot version very low to try and enable as many people as possible to take part.

You can find more information about the course on the BCT website and bookings are already open online

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4. New BCT Advanced Bat Survey Techniques Level 2 Course

BCT are in the process of finalising details of the Advanced Bat Survey Techniques Level 2 course that will take place in the second half of September in West Sussex. If anyone is interested in this course, please contact Naomi Webster via email or call 020 7820 7169, and Naomi will share full details with you once the date and venue are confirmed.

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5. Natural England Endoscopes for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor (VBRV) Trainers

Endoscopes are available from Natural England for licensed VBRV trainers who require the use of one for their bat roost visit work (on behalf of Natural England). If you need one please email Natural England to request one. Please note that there is a limit of one per bat group.

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6. Southern Africa Bat Conference 2017

Many of you will know about the work of Bats without Borders in Southern Africa through their attendance at bat conferences and other events in the UK. They are organising the Southern Africa Bat Conference 2017, taking place from 4th to 6th October at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. Conference bookings will be opening shortly, but more information about the event, including a draft programme, can be found on the Bats without Borders website.

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7. Request for Bat Flies for PhD Research

Sinziana Pop is a PhD student in Darren Williams' lab at King's College London would like to obtain samples of live bat flies, both adults and pupae which she would use for her PhD project. Sinziana is looking at the nervous system of the flies and comparing it to Drosophila (fruit flies) to check what modifications they have undergone during evolution as they became flightless. 

If anyone is able to help Sinziana by sending her love bat fly samples, please get in touch by emailing Sinziana (the team can send postage and packaging).

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8. Late Night/Early Morning Bat Person Wanted for BBC Photography Project

The editorial team behind the BBC News Website are looking to find a selection of people who finish/begin work or do hobbies at 4am. They would like to take a photograph of them, and then interview about their experience of being up and active at this time.

So if any bat workers, carers or volunteers are up this late/early surveying or caring for bats would be willing to talk to the BBC, please contact Naomi Pallas via email. This is a great opportunity to promote the excellent work that you do for bats!

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9. Environmental Regulation in the Face of Brexit – Online Survey

There is a student research project “Vulnerable but Resilient? Environmental Planning in the Face of Power Shifts” as part of the Master’s program of Environmental Planning at the Technische Universität Berlin. The project is investigating attitudes, actions, and responses of environmental professionals in relation to Brexit.

We have been asked to share details of an online survey for the project. The survey asks for six open-ended written responses related to the environmental sector and Brexit, which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. The survey can be accessed online until 1st August 2017.

If you have any general comments or questions, please contact the researchers: Lena Pfeifer and Erik Fruth.

Thank you, in advance, for your participation!

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10. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Awards Nominations

The NBN is accepting nominations for the 2017 UK awards to celebrate biological recording and information sharing. The deadline for nominations is 31st July. More details about the awards and how to nominate someone can be found on the NBN website.

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11. RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Competition

Thank you to everyone who voted via Facebook for the Everest Windows RHS Hampton Court competition. The bat garden received the most votes online but sadly the votes at the show itself meant BCT did not get the top prize. The good news is that BCT still received a donation of £2,000 from Everest Windows and proceeds from a charity plant sale. Thank you for your support!

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12. Bat Research Papers & Reports

Please note we normally only include bat related articles, reports and blogs in this section where they are available to read online or to download without charge. Exceptionally we do include details of papers or other items where we think they will be of particular interest but where only abstracts or summary information is available, but we will include a note of that in the text about the article (there are two such papers in this month’s Bulletin).  For more information about how to access journal papers see the BCT website:

  • WebCam in Bat Roost in North Wales – Not a paper or report but definitely worth sharing! In addition to the Clwyd Bat Group’s new website they have set-up a link to a bat-cam in a roost in North Wales, supported by the South Lancashire Bat Group. You can find the camera feed on the Clywd Bat Group's website (and check out the rest of the Group’s new website whilst you’re there!)
  • EUROBATS Position Statement on Bats & Ebola – the EUROBATS Secretariat has published a statement by a number of leading bat experts in response to recent accusations of bats as sources of EBOLA. The position statement can be found on the EUROBATS website. As a result of the position statement we have updated the information on Ebola under the Bats & Diseases FAQs page on the BCT website. Additionally we have added a page on Bats and Viruses written by Prof. Paul Racey (based on an article he wrote for Bat News last year).
  • Host and viral traits predict zoonotic spillover from mammals – Olival et al. find, in this paper in Nature, that the proportion of zoonotic viruses (those that would be able to infect humans) per species is predicted by phylogenetic relatedness to humans, host taxonomy and human population within a species range—which may reflect human–wildlife contact. The authors argue that bats harbour a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than all other mammalian orders (note they only investigated mammals). Unfortunately the paper isn’t open access but the abstract can be read online. The authors worked with Bat Conservation International prior to release of the paper, including preparation of the press release about it, which can be read on the EcoHealth Alliance website. There is also a summary article on the Science magazine website.
  • Collection of voucher specimens for bat research: conservation, ethical implications, reduction, and alternatives – In this Mammal Review paper, Russo et al.  consider the collection of voucher specimens of bats, the strong ethical reasons to avoid unnecessary collection, and detail the suitable alternatives that should be sought instead. Unfortunately the paper is not open access, but the abstract can be read online and there is an article based on the paper in Science Daily online.

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13. Key Dates for Your Diary

Watch this space for dates and reminders of conferences and other events you may be interested in. Please don’t forget you can get some extra publicity for your events by adding the details to the BCT website:

BCT Events

  • 01-03 September – Swarming Conference. This event is fully booked but to go on the waiting please email Naomi Webster
  • 18 November – Scottish Bat Conference **SAVE THE DATE** More details are available on the web page for the event.

Other Events

  • 01-05 August  – 14th European Bat Research Symposium, Donostia, Spain. For more details please see the event website.
  • 05-09 August – 10th European Bat Detector Workshop, Bidarrai, France. (This event is being held after the European Bat Research Symposium in the Basque country and is only 76 km away from Donostia.) Full details can be found on the organiser's website. (Thank you to Martyn Cooke & Keith Cohen for sending in details of this event).
  • 16-17 November – NBN Conference 2017, National Museum Cardiff. See the NBN website for more information.
  • 26-27 August – International Bat Night. For more information see the BCT website (please do share details of your events to mark this annual celebration of bats!)
  • 04-06 October – Southern Africa Bat Conference, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. Conference bookings will be opening shortly, but more information about the event, including a draft programme, can be found on the Bats without Borders website.
  • 16-17 November – NBN Conference 2017, National Museum Cardiff. See NBN website for more information.

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