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Bat monitoring report reveals concerning trends
Natterer's bat numbers have levelled in both England and Wales.
Two iconic species have declined in the past five years.

Data collected as part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) has highlighted concerning trends for two species of bat in the UK.

The recently published NBMP report for 2023 revealed that both the brown long-eared bat and the lesser horseshoe bat had seen population declines in the past five years.

Findings from summer roosts showed that the number of brown long-eared bats dropped by 11.2 per cent on a UK scale. Meanwhile lesser horseshoe bats declined by 12.3 per cent in England, despite a continued increase in Wales.

The five-year population trends also revealed changes for the Natterer’s bat, common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle. Despite previously increasing long-term trends, there are signs these could be levelling off and stabilising.

These changes were witnessed in the Natterer’s bat and common pipistrelle in England, the Natterer’s bat in Wales and the soprano pipistrelle in Scotland.

This is the first time the NBMP data has examined trends over the shorter period of five years. However, the long term statistics also revealed some positive news for the UK’s bat populations.

Out of the population trends for 11 of the UK’s 17 breeding bat species, none of them had declined. Five species had displayed encouraging signs of recovery from historical declines.

Bat Conservation Trust, which led the NBMP, says that recent genetic analysis has revealed the scale of the historic declines. Research conducted in collaboration with University of Exeter revealed that the endangered barbastelle had declined by 99 per cent over several hundred years.

The trust says that there are few conservation stories where bat species had recovered. The exceptions were often UK species which had benefitted from legal protection and conservation.

Kit Stoner, CEO of Bat Conservation Trust, thanked the volunteers who had contributed to the monitoring programme.

She said: “Their efforts means that we can produce long-term trends for the 11 bat species we are able to monitor, and some of these species are showing early signs of recovery following historic declines.

“It is an encouraging sign that legal protection and conservation action are beginning to help their recovery. However, the short-trends over the last five years for some species are of concern and shows that we must remain vigilant.”

The full report can be found here.

Image © Shutterstock

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
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RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.