Five of Britain’s 17 breeding bat species are showing positive signs of population increases while another six species appear to be stable, according to the latest results from the National Bat Monitoring Programme. None of the 11 species monitored showed any signs of declining.
The National Bat Monitoring Programme [NBMP] report published today led by the Bat Conservation Trust, presents the 2020 results of an annual 20+ year citizen science programme.
The trends reveal that two of Britain’s rarer bats are on rise: the greater horseshoe bat and lesser horseshoe bat; as are the common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and Natterer’s bat.
It also appears that Daubenton’s bat, whiskered/Brandt's bat, noctule, serotine and brown long-eared bat populations have been stable in Britain over the last 20 years.
Philip Briggs, Monitoring Manager at the Bat Conservation Trust, said: “No species for which we produce population trends are considered to have declined significantly since we began monitoring. While the data indicate that bat species we monitor are stable or recovering, it should be remembered that these trends reflect relatively recent changes in bat populations. Historically, there were significant declines in bat populations throughout the 20th century. The new trends suggest current legislation and conservation actions to protect them are proving successful, and it is vitally important this continues.”
The NBMP is an annual series of bat surveys undertaken by thousands of dedicated volunteers. Four long-term monitoring methods were used to produce the population trends: roost and hibernation counts, plus field and waterway surveys across a total of 1,337 sites, involving 850 volunteers. Separately, 244 volunteers also took part in 586 sunset/sunrise bat surveys in 2020. More than 6,600 sites have been surveyed since the start of the NBMP in 1996, many of them surveyed across multiple years.