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Conservationists bid to discover habits of nationally rare bat - North York Moors National Park Authority

The Alcathoe bat. Photo credit - Cyril Schönbächler
The Alcathoe bat. Photo credit - Cyril Schönbächler

Very little is known about one of Britain’s rarest mammals the Alcathoe bat, after it was first ‘discovered’ in the country 10 years ago, but thanks to the support of energy bar brand, CLIF, conservationists from the North York Moors National Park Authority are looking to change that.

The tiny bat, very similar to the Whiskered and Brandt's Bats, was only confirmed as a separate species in Europe in 2001 following genetic analysis. It was then ‘discovered’ in the UK in 2010 but is thought to have existed here much longer.

Thanks to a £10,000 grant from CLIF, the Authority’s Ryevitalise team is soon to embark on an ambitious citizen science project to capture peoples’ interest and develop a deeper understanding of how Alcathoe bats and other species use the habitats, particularly veteran and ancient trees, in and around the project area. This knowledge will help the team to enhance and protect the special area of the Rye catchment now and for future generations.

Alexandra Cripps, Ryevitalise Programme Manager, said: “This is a huge boost for our Small and Tall; the Rye’s Bats and Ancient Trees project. Thanks to CLIF and the ‘National Parks Protectors’ partnership we will be able to engage with the community and partners to collect vital information we need to inform habitat management practices, enhancing and protecting bat populations and other wildlife in the area for future generations.

“We cannot wait to get the project started as volunteers will play a key role in what will be an ambitious landscape scale Citizen Science project. So little is known about the Alcathoe bat that it is currently considered 'Data Deficient' on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We really want to change that and help other bat populations within River Rye catchment area thrive.”

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