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    Rare bat colony found near Han-sur-Lesse

    A breeding colony of the Lesser Horseshoe bat, one of the most endangered species in Belgium, has been discovered in Han-sur- Lesse (province of Namur), rejoiced Natagora in a press release on Wednesday. The Lesser Horseshoe bat is between 37 and 45 mm long and has grey-brown fur on its back. Its underside is a whitish grey.  It is thought the bats numbered approximately 30,000 in the middle of the 20th century, but they have almost disappeared since because of the widespread use of pesticides and the destruction of hedges and copses. “Until recently we were only aware of 3 or 4 colonies in Wallonia,” explains Natagora.

    Researchers found 25 Lesser Horseshoe bats in Han-sur-Lesse, including 2 nursing females, and they were fitted with transmitters so scientists will be able to follow their movements. The next day another 30 were spotted.

    “Following this find, we are going to start by monitoring the survival of the colony, then keep on creating ecological corridors so the species can regain its former status. In order to achieve this we will embark on a planting campaign, especially of hedges. We will also set about restoring copses and will be carrying on with the study of the species ecology,” explains Thibaut Goret, a leader of LIFE Meadows and Hedgerows at Natagora. The organisation has already announced that Bat Night will take place next August 29th all around Wallonia and Brussels.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)