Limerick farmers are asked to go bat crazy

New farming and wildlife project to help rare species of bat

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Limerick farmers are asked to go bat crazy

The Lesser Horseshoe Bat Picture: F Greenaway

LIMERICK farmers are being invited to join a new farming and wildlife project to help a rare species of bat called the Lesser Horseshoe Bat.

Information will be available at a meeting on Monday, July 24, 11am in the Teagasc Office, Newcastle West.

Dr Kate McAney, project leader, says the lesser horseshoe bat is totally dependent on the farming community for its survival and is quite different to the other eight species of bat in Ireland.

“It does not use modern buildings, it needs to fly directly into a structure – like a swallow, it does not fly out in the open at night but flies along hedgerows, stone walls, tree-lines, and it needs underground places like cellars and caves to hibernate in winter. And, in Ireland, it is only found in six western counties – Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry,” said Kate.

They are focusing on ten areas in County Limerick – places where the bat still occurs or has been recorded - Grange/Lough Gur, Fedamore, Adare, Pallaskenry, Croagh, Curraghchase, Rathkeale, Askeaton, Ardagh and Glin. If enough farmers are interested, an application will be made for funding from the Department of Agriculture. 

“If we take action now, this bat won’t go the way of the corncrake. There are a range of simple actions that Limerick farmers can take that will make a significant impact for this species, but that won’t affect the way they farm, and the funding is there to help them to do this.” Contact 086 8308849 for more information.