Schemes to monitor the bat population will be carried out all over Ireland this summer amid concerns the population of the endangered species has dropped dramatically.
Despite being protected by law, the nocturnal flying mammals are being affected by hedgerow removals, the renovation of old buildings, bridge work and pesticides.
Tina Aughney of Bat Conservation Ireland said around 10-years of data was needed to firmly establish the levels of the country’s population.
“We have concerns as the bat population in Europe is on the decline and with the amount of habitat destruction taking place in Ireland,” she said.
She said hedgerow removal, old buildings being restored as holiday homes, and crevices in old stone bridges being filled in affected nesting bats.
“Bats will return to the same roost year in year out,” she said.
The small mammals are protected. There are 10 species of the insect-eating bats in the country with the west coast home to the largest population of the endangered species, the Lesser Horseshoe Bat.
By Louise Hogan
16 April 2007
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