South Scotland

Rare Leisler's bat roost found in Galloway Forest Park

Bat Image copyright Forest Enterprise Scotland
Image caption The Galloway roost had at least 27 adult female Leisler's bats

The rare Leisler's bat has taken up a maternity roost in Galloway Forest Park, the second confirmed site for it in Scotland.

The grouping of female bats come together in a location in late summer to have their pups.

Forest Enterprise Scotland said that although widely distributed the Leisler's bat was not common in Scotland and such roosts were rare.

The first recorded roost was in Culzean Country Park back in 2012.

The Galloway roost had at least 27 adult females which FES said was a good sign its plantation forests were playing an "important part" in allowing the bat to flourish.

Environment forester Gareth Ventress said: "Since 2010, a group of bat experts and volunteers have been trying to find out more about the rare Leisler's bat in Scotland.

"At first we knew that bat boxes on the National Forest Estate were being used by Leisler's bats in the Cree Valley and Glentrool area of Galloway.

Image copyright Forest Enterprise Scotland
Image caption Radio tagging allowed researchers to locate the maternity roost

"Unfortunately, there was no evidence of breeding at all."

He said research had continued but it had proved difficult to find signs of breeding until 2016 when a juvenile male was found which confirmed a roost must be nearby.

"The team decided to come back again this July and were successful in finding lactating Leisler's bats with the help of sonic lures and specialist bat nets," he said.

"We radio-tagged three adult female bats and were able to track them to their maternity roosts.

"We're really pleased that our forests are providing a safe haven for this wonderful and rare bat."

The Leisler's is a mid-sized bat, about 5 to 7cm long with a wingspan of between 26 and 32cm.

It is one of just 10 bat species found in Scotland, all of which can be found in Galloway Forest, including the only known Scottish Brandt's bat roost.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites