Bats were once common on Scilly, but by the 1990s they seemed almost to have disappeared.  This is undoubtedly down to habitat loss, improvements to barns and buildings which they would have roosted in and food availability, compounded by the use of insecticides on farms.  Due to changes in these practices, bats numbers appear to be recovering. 

At the beginning of 2018, the Trust was informed that the island's resident volunteer Bat Wardens would be stepping down from this role after 11 years at the helm. This left a gap in the provision of Bat conservation in Scilly, so we set about finding a viable solution.. 

Bat conservation is a complex business. With bat groups, bat consultants, volunteers and paid professionals, Natural England and the Bat Conservation Trust, and then the “Scilly-factor” of a remote community of five inhabited islands, it was  tricky to come up with a workable plan. But we didn't let that put us off! 

Two staff members (including Ranger Darren Hart) have since undertaken professional Bat Licence training with Dr Sandie Sowler in 2018, who has been involved in Bat research and conservation since 1969. 

The Trust was able to offer an ecological consultancy service for those needing information about the presence of bats or the possibilities of providing roost sites for bats within the planning system, from 2018 to 2021. Homeowners and developers are often required by the Local Planning Authority to take into account Bats when applying for planning permission; the Trust provided this service on a not-for-profit basis. 

Sadly this service came to an end in July 2021.

We hope that the service enabled developers/homeowners to do all they could to help our bat populations thrive. If you have any questions or require assistance relating to planning and bats following the cessation of our service, please contact James Faulconbridge who's details can be found in "Bat Consultancy Moving Forwards".

On Scilly, seven species of bat have been recorded, however only three are resident: common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and brown long-eared batOther species such as Nathusius pipistrelle are migrant, but could be resident.  

The Isles of Scilly hold the UK’s southernmost population of common pipistrelle, however we currently don’t have sufficient data to know much more and so another purpose of this new venture is to gain more data on where bats are roosting, be that maternity, hibernation or transition roosts. Ultimately, we hope that increased information about bats and their whereabouts and requirements on Scilly will enable the Trust to create more suitable bat habitat so that they can thrive as an integral part of the islands' ecosystem.

Since undertaking the training and carrying out survey work our bat ecologists have confirmed five new bat roosts on the islands along with a new species for Scilly, the Leisler's bat! 

To find out more about Bats in Scilly and read about one little Bat who had a very lucky escape read our Scilly Now & Then article "When to help a Flittermouse".

Do remember that we rely on donations to continue our work.  If you have searched, found and learned about Scilly's wildlife on our website, please Support Us and give what you can.  Thank you Bat on Google Android 11.0 December 2020 Feature Drop

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Please note that Bats are protected species and these images were taken under licence in controlled conditions