Action: Legally protect bat species
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of legally protecting bat species on bat populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
Perhaps the most commonly used intervention in response to declining species is to provide legal protection. Bats are protected by national and/or international law in many countries. This typically includes protection against killing, injuring, capturing, disturbing or trading bats, or damaging, destroying or obstructing access to their roosts. Activities that are likely to affect bats in these ways may be against the law and require licences from a government licensing authority.
Increasing population trends for some bat species in the UK may have occurred as a result of legal protection introduced in the 1980s, among other factors such as an increased awareness of bat conservation and changes in agricultural practices (Barlow et al 2015).
Evidence that relates specifically to the legal protection of bats during development is discussed in ‘Threat: Residential and commercial development – Legally protect bats during development’, and for the legal protection of habitats, see ‘Habitat protection – Legally protect bat habitats’.
Barlow K.E., Briggs P.A., Haysom K.A., Hutson A.M., Lechiara N.L., Racey P.A., Walsh A.L. & Langton S.D. (2015) Citizen science reveals trends in bat populations: The National Bat Monitoring Programme in Great Britain. Biological Conservation, 182, 14–26.