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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Rare species projects grant boost
Bechsteins bat
Researchers are hoping to find bechsteins bats within the park
Projects monitoring rare species have been given a grants boost from the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

Those receiving money include a project tracking and recording bats in Gwynedd and a group from south Wales protecting rare fungi.

Joanna Robertson, of the CCW, said the Species Challenge Fund helped smaller groups and keen naturalists.

Gwynedd's bat hunters hope 'bat detectors' will find rare species within the Snowdonia National Park.

"The grant to us of just over 11,000 will help us to buy equipment such as bat detectors and MP3 players to help people who do not have the expertise to track bats," said Kate Williamson, project manager of the Snowdonia Mammal Group which looks after the bat hunt.

Researchers are encouraged to walk a kilometre along a public footpath or along a river at dusk, using the bat detector to pick up bat sounds inaudible to the human ear, and recording them with the MP3 player.

'Richness'

The 'clicking' sounds are then analysed to find out which bat group they belong to.

The project team is looking to find out more about five species of bat - barbastelle, bechstein's, lesser horseshoes, pipistrells and greater horseshoes - and improve the skill levels of those involved in the work.

In Gwent, a smaller grant of around 5,000 to the Gwent Fungus Group will helpo collect data and survey ancient grasslands in the Monmouth area to find four rare fungi.

Also benefiting is the Welsh Ocean Wildlife Roadshow, which aims to show people the rich biodiversity of Wales' seas and shores.

The Wales Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, who want to enhance key species such as the water vole, otter, curlew, lapwing, fritillary butterflies and dragonflies, on 125 farms throughout Wales also receive funding.

"The richness of our natural environment is not something we can take for granted, it needs help," said Ms Robertson, biodeversity team leader for the CCW.

"It is crucial to the economic and social well-being of all the people of Wales," she added.




SEE ALSO
Trust bid to save rare butterfly
25 May 06 |  Mid Wales
Graziers agreement helps uplands
12 Apr 06 |  North West Wales

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