Bat populations recovering - according to largest ever European study  

 

30 January 2014

 

Bat numbers increased more than 40% between 1993 and 2011, after declining for many years, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which considers the state of bat populations across Europe.   

 

UK data from the National Bat Monitoring Programme, part-funded by JNCC, contributed to the report which is the most comprehensive study of European bat populations to date. Surveyors counted hibernating bats at 6000 sites in nine different countries - Latvia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the German states Bavaria and Thuringia.

 

In the UK we have 19 species of bat, 17 of which are known to be breeding here. While some UK populations are showing encouraging signs of increase, the future remains in doubt for some species. The UK grey long-eared bat population has become very fragmented in the past century, with fewer than 1000 left in the UK.