Individual study: Designing a new access point for lesser horseshoe bats, Gloucestershire, UK
Reason P.F. (2017) Designing a new access point for lesser horseshoe bats, Gloucestershire, UK. Conservation Evidence, 14, 52-57
The aim of this intervention was to create a new flight-path and roost access point for lesser horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus hipposideros) in Gloucestershire, UK. Their existing access point was to be enclosed within an extension to the building they occupied, as part of a redevelopment project. Two designs were tried, and detailed observations were made of bats exiting and attempting to return to their roost. The initial design required the bats to execute a 90° turn at the base of a short vertical shaft, and very few bats returned to the roost through this access point design. The final design provided a clear ‘line-of-sight’ through the structure enclosing the flight-path; bats did return to the roost via this access point. Before the intervention colony numbers did not exceed 35 bats (adults and young); during the construction period, numbers dropped to just seven individuals. Post-intervention (after 15 years), numbers of lesser horseshoe bats (adults and young) have exceeded 400 individuals.