Click to read: Island Bat Roost Opens to the Public

Island Bat Roost Opens to the Public

‘Island Bat Roost’, the innovative development and first of its kind in Jersey, is opening to visitors at the Trinity wildlife park on Saturday 9th April. Incorporating recycled tyres, straw bales and wine bottles, the bat’s new home has been designed to create an energy efficient tropical environment for these highly endangered animals, as well as an exciting new visitor attraction. The focus on using ‘green’ technology for the build has been an essential part of the project reflecting Durrell’s commitment to a sustainable environment.

This exciting development was made possible thanks to generous donations from the Kreitman Family and from the Elizabeth Violet Annie Rouse Settlement, together with invaluable support from HSBC. This included 330 HSBC staff who volunteered for on-site construction duties through the winter, working with Durrell staff to complete the project. On behalf of Durrell, our sincere and heartfelt thanks to our partners - this could not have been achieved without their amazing support.

Completed in several stages, the walls of the tunnel were first constructed with more than 800 used car tyres, which would otherwise have been shipped off island as waste. With each tyre having to be rammed with earth then hoisted into position, this proved an intensive and physical challenge to which the aching muscles at HSBC will attest. Straw bales were added for insulation before being covered with several layers of ‘adobe’ mud, while recycled bottles were installed as windows. Much of the wood for the building was recycled from the new visitor centre development, with bamboo being used for rainwater guttering.
With a new, highly efficient heating system being installed in the enclosure, also funded by HSBC, the newly created tunnel will provide the perfect environment for the tropical bats.

Mark Brayshaw, Durrell’s Head of Animal Collection, said “What we have now is a structure that is far more energy efficient, a vastly improved facility for the viewing public and, most importantly, a much better environment for the bats. With its native forest habitat in the Comoros islands coming under growing pressure from a rapidly expanding human population, the Livingstone’s fruit bat faces a real risk of extinction in the wild, adding further importance to our conservation programme for them here at Durrell.”

On behalf of the Kreitman Family, Tricia Kreitman said "Our family has been involved with the conservation of Livingstone's bats for some time. Having funded the original Kreitman Bat Tunnel eight years ago as their temporary home at Durrell, we are thrilled to support this ground-breaking, permanent structure. Durrell's vision will not only help preserve this charismatic species but will also inspire visitors to challenge their own concepts of sustainable living."

Click here for more information on Livingstone’s fruit bats or to adopt your very own bat Merlin.

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Posted 6 April 2011

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