Our first Featured Charity: 2016.
BCT Introduction, published CJS Weekly 25 September 2015.
The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is the only British charity solely devoted to the conservation of bats and it has been doing so since its creation in 1991. BCT works on multiple fronts to ensure a viable future for bats by working collaboratively with local, national and international organisations. Bats make up approximately 24% of all mammal species and yet most people are blissfully unaware of how important they are. In the UK we are lucky enough to have 18 resident species, 17 of which breed here. All UK species consume large numbers of insects every night and a few species will happily munch on spiders too furthermore bats make great indicators of the state of the wider environment. About 70% of bats species globally are insectivores but in tropical regions bats can play important roles as both pollinators and seed disperser
One of the greatest threats to bats is the widespread fear and lack of knowledge which is made all the more challenging to address when working with such an elusive group of mammals. All the teams at BCT work to increase awareness of bats whenever they can as do the local bat groups which are at the core of BCT.
One aspect of BCT’s work is the National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP), which has been gathering data on a number of different bat species since 1997. The NBMP relies on thousands of volunteers up and down the UK who work tirelessly to collect data in order to examine population trends. Over the last few years we have seen some encouraging signs that some populations are stabilising or even beginning to recover from historical declines.
The National Bat Helpline (0345 1300 228) offers advice to members of the public who have discovered bats in their home as well as providing a critical link between members of the public who have found an injured, distressed or orphaned bat with the bat carers network made up of volunteers who tirelessly dedicate their time to helping bats back into the wild. What started with a single temporary summer officer has transformed into a full team of telephone operators as well as an Out of Hours service run by volunteers during the peak summer months. The Helpline also enables BCT to inform both professionals and the public on a range of issues. We encourage anyone with concerns or in need of advice to contact us on the helpline number 0345 1300 228.
Bats are European Protected Species (EPS) due to their decline and vulnerability across Europe; this means they require legal protection that covers individual bats and their roosts. Bat crime is the second most encountered wildlife crime following raptor persecution. Wildlife crime against bats, is often in the form of roost destruction and disturbance, which is not just devastating for the species directly affected at a local level but also for wider conservation efforts. BCT works to provide solutions to improve conservation action for bats and those acting to protect them. We also have an investigations officer who works closely with enforcement officials to make sure bat crime is dealt with appropriately.
We want more people to get involved in bat conservation. To find out how, do visit www.bats.org.uk