THOUSANDS of pounds of specialist bat monitoring equipment has been stolen from a rare bat conservation project in south Warwickshire.
The radiotracking equipment - which is only useful for monitoring bat movements – was being used to follow barbastelles which live in woodland near Shipston-on-Stour.
There are only a few barbastelle breeding roosts in the world, and the exact location of the one in south Warwickshire is closely guarded.
The theft has now put a two-year conservation project in jeopardy.
Project officer Lois Browne, who works for Warwickshire County Council, said: “It’s really of no use to anyone other than ecologists.
"Only people radio tracking animals would want to use it, so we’ve alerted the ecological community to the theft and we’re also tracking various online auction sites.
“Hopefully whoever has taken it will realise the error of their ways and return the radio tracking receivers to us.”
The equipment was stolen between Monday 16th and Wednesday 18th September. It was in a secured locked container in the middle of a wood.
Lois said: “We suspect that opportunists thought they had found something valuable.”
The equipment that was stolen is only useful for monitoring bats.
The equipment is important to the successful completion of the project and future conservation projects.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the receivers is urged to contact the police in Shipston.
It’s not all been bad news though. Two students from Belgium found the project website and decided to travel to the UK to help out.
Lois said: “They travelled by train, car, and even foot to reach the study site to assist with radiotracking the barbastelle bats, which they were keen to learn more about.
“We have attracted help from volunteers from Birmingham Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and even Dorset, but Belgium is certainly the furthest that volunteers have come from to help with our project!”
The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project is a SITA trust funded project coordinated by Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Warwickshire Bat Group (WBG), supported by The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), Natural England and a team of volunteers.
The project aims to gain a better understanding of the ecology of the barbastelle bat in south Warwickshire, which is of national importance as a breeding location for the species.
It also aims to enhance the habitats in the local area for the benefit of barbastelle bats, and to increase local and national awareness of the species and their conservation.
He has even chosen to set up his office well away from any kind of police building—for the time being in a county-...
Now that a scheme to develop up to 800 homes on the site has been given official government backing, the proposals are e...
STRATFORD-on-Avon District is an attractive place to live and its population has grown rapidly over recent decades. &nb...