Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Thursday, 5 August 2010 11:40 UK
Bechstein bats are spotted in a Worcestershire woodland
A rare Bechstein bat
The bats are one of the UKs rarest mammals

Rare Bechstein bats have been found in a Worcestershire woodland.

The bats were discovered in Grafton Wood, near Grafton Flyford, by members of the Worcestershire Bat Group.

Fergus Henderson, from the bat group said: "Bechstein's bats are notoriously difficult to spot as they hardly ever leave the canopy of their favoured broad-leaved woodland habitat.

"On a survey in Grafton Wood this week we found two breeding females and a juvenile.

"In Worcestershire, this makes four sites with eight individual bats - exceeding all our expectations."

Important county

Worcestershire now has the most northerly records of breeding Bechstein's in the country, and makes the county really important for this species.

It's believed that the UK is on the northern edge of the bats' European population, and the species is largely confined to our southern counties.

It is estimated that there are only about 1500 individuals in the country and very little is known about them.

Members of the Worcestershire Bat Group have received specific training for these surveys as normal bat survey methods aren't particularly successful in locating Bechstein's bats.

A licence is required to handle bats.

James Hitchcock, conservation officer with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said: "The discovery of Bechstein's bats on one of our nature reserves is great news.

"It means that the continued conservation work we're doing is working.

"We'll be undertaking fairly major work at Grafton this year - felling many of the twentieth century conifers in order to encourage growth of the broad-leaved woodland that Bechstein's, and many other species, need for survival."

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