Do bats go to the zoo?
Bats depend on the availability of quality of habitats needed to sustain a thriving population, and although all bat species are protected in Britain under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), much of their habitat is not protected in the same way. Many studies have considered the relationship between bat activity and habitat, though the effect of high levels of animal biomass on abundance and activity has not been studied in detail. A relationship can be inferred from existing studies which detail the link between large mammal faeces and high number of insects in an area, which in turn attract bats due to increased prey availability.
Sites of zoological collections have inordinately high levels of biomass when compared to most habitats in the UK. Therefore, this study uses the latest in bat detection software to assess whether the abundance of bats within the Knowsley Estate is correlated with the animals’ present. A proven correlation would highlight the potential importance of zoological collections for providing habitat for native bat species.