All Irish bat species are legally protected under both domestic and European legislation. Under Irish law (Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000) it is an offence to intentionally harm a bat or disturb its resting place. Under European law (EU Habitats Directive) all Irish bat species are listed in Annex IV and are strictly protected wherever they occur. One Irish species, the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) is also listed in Annex II of the directive. Annex II includes species whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
FERS provide a range of bat surveys and services including:
- Initial internal/external inspection to identify potential roost features (buildings, trees, caves, ice houses, etc.) and to look for signs of bats (live bats, bat remains, bat droppings, prey remains, grease stains).
- Emergence/dawn re-entry surveys to assess features identified as potential roost sites following initial inspection. Surveyors observe potential roost features and record bat species, numbers and points of emergence/re-entry.
- Bat activity surveys to evaluate the commuting and foraging activities of bats. Surveyors use hand-held bat detectors to locate and identify bats at either fixed points or along transects.
- Static monitoring using automated bat detectors (Pettersson D500x) is undertaken where longer monitoring is required to quantify bat activity at specific locations. Bat detectors are left either within buildings, or externally, on trees or in hedgerows and remain onsite for a number of nights to record bat activity. The identification of bat species is accomplished through a combination of sound-analysis software and manual interpretation. Data can then be used to quantify the importance of features and locations, and how bat activity changes over time.
- Bat mitigation measures may be necessary where a development has the potential to affect bats or their roosts. Before the commencement of the development a derogation license issued by National Parks & Wildlife Service is required. FERS ecologists have extensive experience in both applying for derogation licenses and designing, implementing and monitoring of detailed mitigation strategies.
SPECTROGRAPH OF THE ECHOLOCATION CALL OF A SOPRANO PIPISTRELLE