26th October 2021

A focus on helping bats for COP26

Cover of Spring 2021 issue of membership exclusive magazine 'Bat News'

The Bat Conservation Trust is releasing a free download of the spring 2021 edition of Bat News which covered the topic of climate change impact on bats. The magazine is normally only available to Bat Conservation Trust members but we want to help people better understand how climate change is affecting bats, at this crucial time when world leaders are meeting for COP26 (The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow from 31 October and 12 November 2021.

The heating planet is already impacting on bats. This year, Bat News, explored work by leading researchers and offered views on what must be done to help address the needs of these vulnerable mammals.

We often see news stories about Australian flying foxes suffering from heatwaves, but even here in the relatively cooler UK, the National Bat Helpline has been asked to help when the impact of extreme heat has threatened bat roosts.

In July 2020 for example, South Lancashire Bat Group rescued 63 baby bats struggling in a heat wave. It is thought the temperature probably became too much for the mothers, so they flew off somewhere cooler and were forced to leave their pups behind in the hot roost. Many of the pups climbed out to escape the heat and were rescued on the ground. We are happy to report the pups were placed back in the roosts to be reunited with their mums once the temperature came down.

Dr Orly Razgour of the Global Change Genetics research group at the University of Exeter has been combining tools from different research fields to help understand the ecological and evolutionary responses of bats to climate change.

In Bat News, she highlights the need for more work to identify populations under threat from climate change: “Much work has focused on identifying the most threatened species, but to help affected species amid climate change we need to know where to focus resources and how best to manage each population,” she writes.

Dr. Yann Gager also writes on how climate change is one of the major menaces to the survival of many bat species.

We offer deeper insights on some known impacts and what mitigation efforts might offer solutions and help bats as the climate continues to heat.

Internationally, increased aridity is taking its toll on many bats species too, as discussed by Dr. Ricardo Rocha and Irene Conenna. Kseniia Kravchenko looks at how migratory bats are being affected.

We look at the decline of the northern bat, and explore what’s being called ‘the Goldilocks approach’ to providing better bat box roosting opportunities in changing environmental conditions.

Craig Dunton our Grey Long-Eared Bat project officer notes that the UK is likely to see an increase in the number of bat species, however, this may not all be good news for bats.


Please consider donating to the Bat Conservation Trust so that we can continue to carry out the vital work

Look out for the Global Day of Action across social media to find out more ways to support wildlife in our changing climate. There will also be a Biodiversity Bloc at the Glasgow Global Day of Action on the 6th of November. More information about this here.