10th February 2016
During the busy summer months (May to September), when bats have their pups and the young are learning to fly, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) runs an Out Of Hours (OOH) helpline to cover evenings and weekends. The OOH helpline relies on volunteers like you to answer emergency calls, it would simply be impossible without your help.
The OOH service compliments the National Bat Helpline during the busiest months of the year in a bat's life. This busy period begins when female bats are heavily pregnant which means they can sometimes get into trouble. This is not surprising when you consider that the baby bat can make up 25% of the mothers body weight. Bat mums usually give birth to a single baby (called a pup) in June/July and this is often associated with another peak of calls to the helpline as pups sometimes fall out of roosts. The young adventurous bats start learning to fly when they are only 3 weeks old and just like any teenager, things sometimes go wrong.
Volunteers receive training in answering calls before the season begins, as well as full support from BCT staff throughout the season. Once fully trained, volunteers work from home for those shifts that they have signed up for. Common calls involve grounded or injured bats, bats trapped in people's houses, newly-discovered roosts and planning and development queries. The OOH helpline can sometimes be challenging but also very rewarding. One previous volunteer said: "Highly recommended it! I did it for a couple of years, really satisfying and interesting."
2015 was our busiest OOH season ever! Our volunteers took 2,824 calls throughout the season! More information, including the Out Of Hours Report 2015, is available from our website: www.bats.org.uk/pages/bat_helpline.html .
How to Volunteer
We are now recruiting for the 2016 season! Please note that all participants will need to attend one of the Out of Hours training days: 16th April 2016 (London) or 30th April 2016 (Manchester).
Please register your interest by getting in touch with Keiron Brown on 0345 1300 228 or by emailing email@example.com. Please email as well if you need to know more information about our OOH helpline.
If you can't volunteer but would like to donate to help us maintain this service, look here http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/donate.html or call Andreia on 020 7820 7181
What to do if you find a bat?
Any bat that is found on the ground, or in an exposed area, especially during the day, is likely to need help - have a look at: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/containingabat.html
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is the only national organisation solely devoted to the conservation of bats and their habitats in the UK. Its network of 100 local bat groups and more than 1,000 bat workers survey roosts and hibernation sites, and work with householders, builders, farmers and foresters to protect bats. www.bats.org.uk
All British bats are protected under British law, because of severe declines in bat numbers during the twentieth century. Loss of roosting habitat to development and construction, loss of foraging habitat as farming practice has changed (using pesticide and losing meadows and hedgerows) and loss of hedgerows, waterways and commuting routes linking the two all contributed to the declines in bat populations.
Because of widespread population declines and continued vulnerability, all British bat species are European protected species and afforded a high level of protection under both the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Deliberately capturing, disturbing, injuring and killing bats is prohibited, as is damaging or destroying their breeding sites and roosts.
The Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228 is for anyone who needs help with bats If you find a grounded or injured bat, believes bats to be at risk or think you may have bats or want to let us know about a bat roost site please call the Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228