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Rare bat conservation project hit by thieves
1:00pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
THOUSANDS of pounds worth of specialist equipment has been stolen from a rare bat conservation project in south Warwickshire.
The equipment belongs to the Warwickshire Barbastelle Project, and is used for monitoring bat movements.
The stolen equipment includes two radio tracking receivers used to follow rare barbastelle bats, which live in woodland near Shipston, as part of a two-year conservation project.
Project officer Lois Browne, who works for Warwickshire County Council, said the equipment was stolen between September 16 and September 18.
“It was in a secured locked container in the middle of a woodland, and we suspect that opportunists thought they had found something valuable,”
“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 is very important to the successful completion of the project and future conservation projects.
The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project is a SITA trust-funded project coordinated by Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Warwickshire Bat Group (WBG).
It is supported by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), Natural England and a team of volunteers and 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.
Ms Browne added: “It’s not all been bad news though.
“Two students from Belgium found our project website and Facebook page online and decided to travel to the UK to help with the project.
“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.”
Anyone with information about the theft should call the police.
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