Broads Authority takes steps to secure the future of rare bat species

The Broads Authority has invested in 30 Schwegler bat boxes which will provide roosting places for the uncommon bat species, Nathusius’ pipistrelle.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle has a strong hold in the Broads National Park, with Whitlingham Country Park in Trowse being a hotspot for this species. The bat boxes are woodpecker-proof and weather and rot-resistant and have been erected in woodland around Whitlingham Broad where it is hoped that they will be found by the bats and used for roosting. The boxes will be inspected to search for individuals who have been caught and ringed in the Country Park. Any recaptures will further knowledge of the behaviour of the bat and help to continue conservation efforts to secure its future.

NP bat on glove © bat conservation trust.daniel hargreaves

Over the last 3 years, ringing of individuals has revealed the amazing migration undertaken by the Nathusius’ pipistrelle. Results found that the bats migrate between north eastern European countries such as Latvia and Lithuania and the United Kingdom. The bats migrate south during the autumn months to escape the harsh winters and return in the spring, crossing the North Sea on their journey to and from Europe.  The data is being used to underpin conservation efforts to protect this amazing species of bat and to discover more about its migratory behaviour.

The Broads Authority has taken steps since the discovery of the bat’s stronghold in the Broads to work with organisations such as The Bat Conservation Trust and Norwich Bat Group to collate data for The National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project. Woodland management in the Broads is especially tailored to take into account bat activity and to maximise their success in the National Park. The welcome addition of the bat boxes will allow volunteers and landowners to work with bat specialists to monitor better the activity of the bat and to learn more about them for their future protection in the Broads.

The numbers of this rare bat discovered in the Broads, and particularly at Whitlingham, supports the staggering statistic that although the Broads National Park only covers 0.1% of the country, it is home to over a quarter of the UK’s rarest wildlife.

Senior Ecologist for the Broads Authority, Andrea Kelly, said of the project,

“We’ve been so encouraged by the enthusiasm and community spirit that these amazing bats have engendered. There has been a lot of collaborative work between volunteers, landowners and charities to monitor these bats and provide the correct habitat for them to thrive. The Schwegler bat boxes will increase the chances of recapturing ringed bats without the use of specialist equipment and will enable volunteers to reveal more information about Nathusius’ pipistrelles in the Broads National Park.”

Monday 4 February 2019