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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Post-release survival of hand-reared pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus spp)

Published source details

Kelly A., Goodwin S., Grogan A. & Mathews F. (2008) Post-release survival of hand-reared pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus spp). Animal Welfare, 17, 375-382

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Rehabilitate injured/orphaned bats to maintain wild bat populations Bat Conservation

A study in 2002–2006 at a wildlife rehabilitaton centre in the UK (Kelly et al. 2008) found that five hand-reared Pipistrellus spp. bats released into the wild after prolonged flight training in a large flight cage survived for at least 5–10 nights and were active each night, but seven bats released after a limited amount of flight training or training in a limited space did not survive or were less active after release. Five bats that flew for 21 days in a large flight cage (7 x 4 x 2.3 m) before release were radio-tracked for 5–10 days after their release and were recorded actively flying each night. Two bats that flew in a smaller flight enclosure (3 x 2 x 1.8 m) before release flew well on the first night after release but did not fly on the second and third nights. Five bats that flew for 20 minutes/day in an enclosed room before release were found on the ground within 48 h of release (four bats) or contact was lost with the radio tag (one bat). All of 12 injured or orphaned bats were hand-reared by domestic carers (seven bats) or a wildlife rehabilitation centre (five bats). Bat pups were kept in an incubator and fed a milk substitute. At 3–4 weeks old, they were moved to unheated bat boxes and weaned onto mealworms. Bats were radio-tracked for 1–10 nights following release from their bat boxes at sites close to known bat roosts in 2002, 2005 or 2006.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)