Appeals: Bat Conservation Trust

A Brown Long-Eared bat (Plecotus auritus) tucked up and roosting: it is the second most common species in Britain and one which the Bat Conservation Trust is endeavouring to protect. The trust is dedicated to reversing the decline in Britain's bat populations - there are 14 species in Britain and some, such as the Greater Horseshoe bat, are seriously endangered. In 1990 the Mouse-Eared bat became extinct in Britain - the first mammal species to be lost to Britain since the demise of the wolf in 1769.

Part of the trust's work involves supporting a network of 90 voluntary bat groups which raise public awareness by providing information and practical conservation, such as building bat boxes. A three-year project begun last year is investigating how features in churches can be made attractive to bat roosts.

According to the National Bat Colony Survey's most recent results there has been a slight decline in the national number of bats, with the greatest decline in South-east England and the Midlands; in the 15 years since the survey was started, there has been a 70 per cent decline in the bat population, while the house bat population in Scotland has increased by nearly 65 per cent. House bats are those that tend to roost in houses, such as the Lesser Horseshoe and the Pipistrelle.

The trust needs to raise pounds 45,000 to match funding from other sources, mainly wildlife trusts, so that it can continue its work during this financial year. For further information, contact: The Bat Conservation Trust, London Ecology Centre, 45 Shelton Street, London WC2H 9HJ, telephone 071-240 0933.

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