Hibernation Survey COVID-19 guidance

Updated 20th October 2020

At present the NBMP Hibernation Survey for winter 2020/21 is suspended in line with IUCN guidance on preventing human-to-bat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19). We will update our position on this winter’s surveys if IUCN guidance changes in time for monitoring to proceed. In the meantime we will not be making NBMP Hibernation Survey materials available and the online recording for this survey will be disabled.

The IUCN Bat Specialist Group (BSG) recommends that researchers prioritise activities that are essential to bat conservation, animal health or public health and consider options to delay, replace or reduce non-essential activities. The position of BCT and JNCC is that, while long-term bat monitoring is essential, a one year gap in monitoring will not have a major adverse impact on the production of long-term species population trends. Therefore the NBMP Hibernation Survey is not considered an essential activity in winter 2020/21. This will avoid the risk of human-to-bat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through environmental exposure: sharing enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces with bats, where the virus may persist in the air or on surfaces.

For more information please see the relevant IUCN guidance at: https://www.iucnbsg.org/. Further information for bat groups was included in the October edition of the Bat Group Bulletin which can be found here.