Saving the Grey Long Eared Bat – East Devon AONB Winter Update

Owl reads this from the East Devon AONB winter update and asks: where were you when the Long Eared Bats of East Budleigh needed you? Their predicament was well publicised.

Owl thinks it appropriate to nominate East Devon AONB for a “White Feather” award.

Go to this post (amongst many) to find out why.

eastdevonaonb.org.uk

The Grey long eared bat needs our help. With as few as 1000 bats, located in 8 main maternity roosts spread across the south of England, we need to act now to prevent their extinction in the UK.

We’ve committed to doing the best we can for this rare mammal locally, by choosing the Grey long eared bat as one of our ‘special species’ for recovery action, part of our commitment to nature.

Links with East Devon

Two of the surviving maternity roosts are located in East Devon and form a vital link between the colonies in the south of England and the two colonies in south Devon. But there’s a risk of losing this link, and colonies becoming isolated, as foraging and commuting routes are fragmented by landscape changes resulting from changing agricultural practices.

For the last 3 years, Bat Conservation Trust have, as part of the Back from the Brink HLF project, helped improve foraging habitats around the known roosts in East Devon.

Next steps

Now we have entered into our own partnership with Bat Conservation Trust to continue this vital work, focusing on improving connectivity to the known roosts in Dorset – enhancing foraging and commuting routes to the east of the AONB and into the neighbouring county. The risk with colonies becoming increasingly isolated is that there is no mixing of genetic materials between colonies, which is vital for the long term survival of the species.

Together, we made a bid to the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for £69K to support our collaborative ‘Return of the true Night Rider’ project and help us involve local communities, individuals and groups in conservation action.

Exciting news

We are thrilled to announce that our bid was successful and we’re hugely excited about what it will enable us to achieve through the Return of the true Night Rider project, at a time when the need for urgent action to tackle the decline in biodiversity has never been greater.

The project will seek to enhance the floral interest of 18 ha of grassland, this will support a greater diversity of insects which will support the bats, as well as other animals, and will also improve the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

We will engage with 50 landowners and farmers to tell them more about how to manage their land for the bats.

We have also set ourselves a challenging target of talking to 500 local people about the bats, the challenges that they face and the importance of floristically rich grassland.

Target parishes are: Musbury, Colyton, Colyford, Shute, Kilmington, Combpyne and Rousdon, Uplyme, part of Axminster, Hemyock, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Wootton Fitzpaine and Catherston Leweston. This means exciting cross border working with the Dorset AONB .

We will start delivery in December and the project will run to March 2022.

#GreenRecoveryChallengeFund #TogetherForOurPlanet

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