National survey to count bat population

By Ralph Riegel

A NATIONAL audit of bat numbers has been launched after the species was virtually wiped out by a mysterious population crash 20 years ago.

So little is known about Ireland's bats that a charity has appealed for volunteers to get involved with a national research campaign.

Bat Conservation Ireland (BCI) is providing free training, equipment and support for volunteers in a nationwide campaign to obtain crucial information on the country's nine resident bat species.

So little is known about the mammals that estimates of their population vary wildly.

"There was a population crash that occurred about 20 years or so ago," BCI official Tina Aughney said.


"We still don't fully understand the reasons, but the population has recovered and was slowly on the increase up until about 2008.

"We need volunteers because we want to know more about bat habitats, their hunting areas and their numbers.

"We will provide free training and supervised instruction. It is incredible to watch a river valley at night and see bats and owls get active and start hunting."

Bats are found in every Irish county, with Dublin especially having significant colonies.

Further details for prospective volunteers are available from or