Mid Wales

British Waterways seeks help for Pontcysyllte bat study

The lesser horseshoe bat (picture: the Vincent Wildlife Trust)
Image caption The UK is home to 17 species of bat, such as this one, the lesser horseshoe bat

British Waterways is inviting people to help it learn more about bats on a stretch of canal in Wrexham.

The organisation's annual survey will focus on bats, and it describes the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is one of the best-known roosts in the UK.

The aqueduct - a World Heritage site - is home to pipistrelles.

British Waterways said canals provided ideal "green corridors" for bats, which have been in decline in Great Britain since the 1950s.

This year's survey hopes to highlight the variety of species living on canals and rivers, but particularly bats.

Participants are asked to log all the animals they spot via a website which also helps volunteer identify species.

British Waterways' national ecology manager, Mark Robinson, said: "For bats, canals are like a cross between the M1 and Tesco.

"Our 200-year old bridges, aqueducts and tunnels provide ideal nooks and crannies for bats to roost in, while the high water quality and plant-rich channels ensure plenty of insects, which are bats' only source of food.

"Modern buildings and landscaped parks tend to be highly maintained which, while great for us, is not so good for bats as they rely on undisturbed, safe places to roost, such as old tree trunks or the eaves of roofs.

"Canals offer the best of both worlds - welcoming millions of commuters and leisure seekers during the day, but remaining a refuge for these fascinating, yet mysterious and elusive mammals at night."

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