1. ITV Report

Rare bat roost found in Galloway forests

Female Leisler’s bat Photo: Forest Enterprise Scotland

A Galloway forest has been confirmed home to Scotland's second recorded maternity roost for a rare species of bat.

The roost, found in Galloway Forest Park, is being used by a group of female Leisler’s bats as a location to have their pups.

Leisler's bats, also known as the hairy-armed bat, can be found throughout the British Isles.

To find a maternity roost is very rare, especially in Scotland.

The first recorded find of a maternity roost was in Culzean Country Park in 2012 where 40 adults were found.

Galloway's roost is said to have at least 27 adult females.

Radio tracking devices were used to locate the bats and their roost

Forest Enterprise Scotland says the finding is long-awaited:

Since 2010, a group of bat experts and volunteers have been trying to find out more about the rare Leisler’s bat in Scotland.

At first we knew that bat boxes on the National Forest Estate were being used by Leisler’s bats in the Cree Valley and Glentrool area of Galloway.

Unfortunately there was no evidence of breeding at all.

Over the next few years, research continued but it proved difficult to find any signs of breeding. In 2016 we did find a juvenile male Leisler’s in Galloway which confirmed that there must be a roost nearby.

The team decided to come back again this July and were successful in finding lactating Leisler’s bats with the help of sonic lures and specialist bat nets. We radio-tagged three adult female bats and were able to track them to their maternity roosts.

We’re really pleased that our forests are providing a safe haven for this wonderful and rare bat.”

– Gareth Ventress, Environment Forester, Forest Enterprise Scotland