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Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 12:56 GMT
Bats aim for home on firing range
Greater Horseshoe Bat
There are thought to be 4,000 greater horseshoe bats in the UK
Two bats from one of the world's most endangered species are now roosting in a former Ministry of Defence (MoD) bunker on a firing range.

Military chiefs have even carried out work on the buildings in Lulworth Cove, Dorset, to shield the greater horseshoe bats from light and draughts.

The creatures are one of the UK's rarest species and numbers are reported to be in dramatic decline.

The uncultivated range provides a rich source of insects for them to feed on.

Lulworth's bats are just one of many success stories that reflect how the MoD goes the extra mile to preserve and protect the environment and its inhabitants
Secretary of State for Defence John Reid

Secretary of State for Defence John Reid said: "We need to maintain and sustain the MoD's land to the highest standards in every respect today, to meet the training and operational needs for the servicemen and women of tomorrow.

"But as an organisation that uses rural land we are also very aware of our responsibility to nurture and conserve the environment where we work.

"Lulworth's bats are just one of many success stories that reflect how the MoD goes the extra mile to preserve and protect the environment and its inhabitants."

Intensive farming practices have resulted in the deaths of thousands of the greater horseshoe bats over the decades.

Cora Taylor, Range Warden for Babcock Defence Services, who are contracted by the MoD to manage the Lulworth Cove ranges, said: "We are now leaving them in peace over Christmas and crossing our fingers that the bats will start a family in the New Year."




SEE ALSO:
Island opens haven for fruit bats
15 Dec 05 |  Isle of Man
Cemetery holds Halloween bat walk
15 Oct 05 |  Lancashire
Gold mines valuable to rare bats
07 Mar 05 |  North West Wales
Bats get an unfair press
21 May 99 |  Health


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