City's bat population has 'declined considerably' say experts

Norwich's bat population is dying out according to an expert group.

Norwich's bat population is dying out according to an expert group. - Credit: Frances Ridley / PA

The city's rich and diverse species of bat are in threat of being gone for good if more isn't done to protect them.

But a bat preservation group and touring company are looking to help point the public's eyes to the sky and raise awareness of their plight.

Jane Harris, committee member of Norfolk and Norwich Bat Group, said: "There are 17 species of bat which breed in the UK - 10 of these are found around Norwich.

Jane Harris, committee member of Norfolk and Norwich Bat group, said: "Bat populations in the UK have declined considerably."

Jane Harris, committee member of Norfolk and Norwich Bat group, said: "Bat populations in the UK have declined considerably." - Credit: PA

"This reflects the range of habitats in the city and surrounding areas such as pockets of woodland, the rivers Wensum and Yare and large waterbodies such as Whitlingham Country Park.

"However bat populations in the UK have declined considerably over the last century.

"The main threats in Norwich are building and development work that damages or destroys roosts, loss of feeding habitat, and severing of commuting routes by roads.

"Bats also regularly get stuck on sticky insect traps and can be poisoned by chemical treatments in buildings - especially the roofs.

Most Read

"As a result of the steep decline in bat populations all UK bat species and their roosts are protected, which seems to have halted the decline of some species, but there is much more to do.

"Planting trees, shrubs, wild flowers and garden flowers, which attract insects, will increase the food supply for bats."

Frances Ridley, who runs Families Get Active is working with the Norfolk and Norwich Bat Group.

She said: "We have bat detectors so you can hear them but we see them flying overhead as we are walking.

"It's important to educate as many people as possible on what is happening and we want to collectively help teach them how to look out for this rapidly endangered mammal."

Frances Ridley, who runs Families Get Active, said: "It's important to educate people on what's happening."

Frances Ridley, who runs Families Get Active, said: "It's important to educate as many people as possible on what is happening." - Credit: Frances Ridley

So what can be done in the event that an injured bat is found?

Jane added: "If a member of the public finds a grounded or injured bat, they can contact the Bat Conservation Trust helpline who will put them in touch with a local bat carer.

"Colonies are most vulnerable from mid-June to the end of August when the mums are looking after their babies."