Rare bats thought to be be threatened by windfarms are much more common in southern Scotland than had been previously thought.
Some 275 volunteers, taking part in one of the largest-ever volunteer-based surveys in Scotland, has given “a clearer picture” of bat populations the area, according to conservation quango Scottish Natural Heritage.
Leisler’s and noctule species were more abundant than previously thought, though they remain among the five scarcest species north of the Border.
Sally Thomas, Director of Policy and Advice at Scottish Natural Heritage said: “This survey shows the power which volunteers have in helping us to better understand little-known species. “
Stuart Newson of the British Trust for Ornithology added: “There is a real need for higher-quality data of this type to inform our understanding of bat distribution and activity if we are to make good decisions for bats across a range of issues.
“As a minimum standard, researchers working on bats should prioritise the collection and use of distributional data with consideration of the underlying survey design and representativeness of the data collected. This can be achieved most cost-effectively by working with the public to develop large-scale acoustic monitoring schemes.”
Coordinated on behalf of SNH by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the survey was carried out across southern Scotland in the summer of 2016.
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