6th January 2011

The Bat Conservation Trust's project to find one of Britain's rarest mammals is now entering its fourth and final year in 2011, the International Year of the Forest and the Year of the Bat.

To establish the range of this elusive bat, woodlands in the South of England are surveyed using a novel methodology, employing an "acoustic lure". This lure emits sounds similar to a bat's call, attracting interest from bats in the area, trained volunteers from the local bat group can then safely trap and identify whether these bats are the elusive Bechstein's bat.

Last summer, the surveys, conducted in the dead of night, found Bechstein's bat at 19 sites in over 6 counties. This included the first known records of breeding females in the counties of Buckinghamshire and Worcestershire. Bat groups are now preparing to complete the remaining surveys in May and June across Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Worcestershire. Helen Miller, Bechstein's Bat Project Officer says, "After a great season last year we are hoping we get even more exciting finds in 2011 Year of the Bat!"

Many of our 18 bat species in the UK (including the Bechstein's bat) rely on woodlands for roosting and foraging. However bat species in this important habitat are under-recorded. The Bechstein's Bat Project is one of the ways that the Bat Conservation Trust is working to ensure that bats are considered during woodland management.

Find out more about the Bechstein's Bat Project