Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 00:27 UK

Bat sightings point to recovery

Pipistrelle bat
The National Trust for Scotland said some species were starting to recover

More than 1,000 bat passings have been recorded by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) during a conservation project at its historic properties.

The NTS said the eight-week bat spotting study at 17 of its sites, showed signs some types of the endangered species were recovering.

The largest roost, with 350 bats, was found at the Hill of Tarvit in Fife.

The mammals were also seen at Provan Hall in Easterhouse, Glasgow and Harmony Garden in Melrose.

More than three-quarters of the Trust's 129 properties are home to bats.

Roost destruction

Common species include Soprano and Bandit Pipistrelles, Brown Long-eared bats and the Natterer's bat.

The eight-week project was designed to allow NTS to locate bat habitats so they could avoid disturbing them while carrying out conservation work.

Bat detection experts were joined by volunteers to carry out "bat-watches" at dusk.

Lindsay Mackinlay, nature conservation adviser at NTS, said the survey indicated their conservation approach was working.

"Bats are vulnerable creatures and need our care and protection to ensure that they survive and thrive," he said.

"Many bat populations have been in decline in Scotland for some time because of roost destruction and changes to their food supply, but there are now signs that some bat species are starting to recover.

"The results of our survey are very positive, showing that the trust cares for some very healthy populations of bats. In fact, many of the bats spotted were feeding so there is clearly a ready supply of insects for them to eat."

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