Gib-Bats was started in 2013 when a team of UK specialists led by James Shipman contacted the Gibraltar Museum, Department for the Environment and GONHS, interested in starting a project looking at bats in Gibraltar. Discussions led to the first meeting in November, when a licence for the project was issued by the Department of the Environment and the team came out to Gibraltar to carry out a preliminary examination of sites with the Gibraltar Museum’s Caving Unit and members of the GONHS.
The idea behind the project is to clearly establish what bat species are living year round in Gibraltar and what species use the Rock during certain times of the year. The project aims to educate the community on bats and also advise HM Government of Gibraltar on how to protect these endangered animals and their habitats.
We are working on establishing which species is where and at what time of the year that species or colony is using a particular site. Once we have those data, we will be advising the Government on what can be done to 1) protect those sites, 2) protect those habitats 3) protect those species and 4) encourage the species population to recover to healthy numbers.
We feel that Gibraltar has tremendous potential for bats. It is in a key geographical position between Africa and of Europe and it seems possible that these animals are migrating through Gibraltar and possibly across the Strait. We would like to see our data and results being put to good use and our advice used to help these animals. Our aim is to help these species increase in number to what the local colonies were like in the 1980s and before.
We also hope to educate our younger generations into seeing that these wonderful creatures are important and need to be cherished and protected.
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