Bat survey reveals nine species roosting in Dudley Zoo caverns

After 'hanging out' with bat conservationists, staff have discovered up to nine species are roosting in off-show caverns at the Castle Hill attraction

Conservation Office, Chris Leeson, has been working with members of the Birmingham and Black Country group 'Brumbats' in Big Ben cavern behind the birds section, to monitor wild bats.

The zoo teams up with Brumbats, which holds a licence to carry out this type of research work with bats, eight times a year to see what species are on site and to assess the health of the population.

Using specialist detecting equipment, the conservationists have been catching bats, measuring their wings and clipping their hair to get a DNA sample to see if they come across the same bats again. Results from the bat surveys are being used in a project which one Brumbats member is putting together for a PhD course at the University of Wolverhampton. Chris said:

“The aim of the surveys is to look at how big a bat population we have living here and what types of bats we have. By listening to various sound frequencies we can determine which type of bats we have and so far we have evidence of nine species. We’ve also found out bats are roosting here over winter, which is very exciting.”

Three of the bats Chris and the group managed to photograph were the brown long-eared bat, the Daubenton’s bat and the Natter’s bat.

The zoo is a keen supporter of Brumbats on-going conservation work, inviting them to help launch the Castle Creatures exhibit in 2015, which houses two species of bat – Egyptian fruit and Seba’s short-tailed bats.


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