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Join us this weekend to celebrate the weird and wonderful life of bats in our annual festival.
Events and activities will run 5-6 July from 12.00-17.00 in the Museum’s Wildlife Garden and Darwin Centre.
The festival, which partners with the Bat Conservation Trust and with the London Bat Group, is dedicated to one of the world’s most widespread mammal groups. There are more than 1,200 species of bats worldwide, including 18 in the UK.
Across Europe, 26% of bat species are currently threatened with extinction. However, conservation efforts have led to a more than 40% increase in bat numbers between 1993 and 2011.
Bats play an important role in managing ecosystems by controlling populations of insects. Some bats feed on fruits and nectar, but many, including all UK species, eat insects.
Activities in the Museum's Wildlife Garden will include crafts such as making masks and a bat bed and breakfast, hearing about the work of bat hospitals, and following a trail to discover more about our resident bats.
‘It’s a special moment to watch them feeding over the ponds and meadow areas where they catch small moths, caddisflies, midges and other small flies,’ said Wildlife Garden manager Caroline Ware.
In the Darwin Centre, real specimens will be on display, as well as talks on their habitats, food and how to detect bats at dusk.
The Museum holds a large and important collection of bats, consisting of more than 30,000 specimens and covering around 95% of bat species worldwide.
‘The collection is particularly important for conservation,’ said mammal curator Louise Tomsett.
‘The geographical locality information associated with the specimens gives insight to where populations are or where they used to be and can be used to assess declines or changes in species range.'