Monday, April 7, 2014

Lottery Funding May Help Save Rare British Bats

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded funding to a project that hopes to help secure the future of a rare species of bat.

Greater horseshoe bats are so named because of the distinctive horseshoe-shaped organ on their noses and, with wingspans that often reach 40cm; the greater horseshoe is one of the largest bats to fly Britain's nighttime sky.

Britain's population of greater horseshoe bats  has fallen by 90% in the last century, as the bats have struggled to keep pace with a growing number of insensitive building developments and changes in the landscape.

Devon is one of the most important greater horseshoe bat breeding grounds in Northern Europe and Devon Wildlife Trust is determined to secure the bat's future.

Devon Wildlife Trust's Conservation Advocacy Manager Peter Burgess said: "Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow us to plan the first stages of the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project."

The HLF has provided the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project with a £65,000 development grant.

"It will allow us to support local farmers to farm in more 'bat friendly' ways," Burgess explained, "helping to maintain vital bat feeding areas and flight corridors."

Head of HLF South West, Nerys Watts said: "We’re sure the Devon Wildlife Trust run project will be a great success and we look forward to seeing these initial plans progress over the coming months."

The HLF distributes a share of the funds raised by UK National Lottery Good Causes. HLF grants are awarded to projects designed to sustain and transform the British Heritage.