About Us

The Northern Ireland Bat Group was formed in 1985, the year when bats first achieved protected status in the province. The Group’s members are all volunteers and come from all walks of life to share a common interest in bats and their conservation.

The Northern Ireland Bat Group is an entirely voluntary organisation made up of dedicated volunteers from all over Northern Ireland. Volunteers balance their full time jobs and family life and kindly make room for bat conservation, it’s only thanks to their dedication that the group can continue.

What does the Bat Group do?

Volunteers carry out a number of activities including:

  • Rescue and rehabilitation of bats
  • Providing advice about bats to individuals, businesses and councils
  • Collecting and collating bat records from across Northern Ireland which are passed on to CEDaR
  • Delivering bat talks and walks to groups of all ages
  • Cooperating in bat conservation and research projects including Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme
  • Providing ‘Bats a Fact’ education resource and workshops for schools (on request)
  • Providing training for members wishing to apply for a Volunteer Roost Visitor License

Want to become a member?

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in bats and their conservation.  A membership form can be downloaded from here.  Please consider joining the Bat Group to help bats, learn about bats and teach others.  Membership is for one year.  Membership fees are paid at the Annual General Meeting held in late April each year. Standard, family and concessionary rates are available.  Membership of the Bat Group is required for some of the events we organise, for reasons of high demand and occasionally for insurance purposes.

About our funding

The Northern Ireland Bat Group receives a mileage refund for bat call outs from Northern Ireland Environment Agency.  We have received money from the Environmental Recorder Group and NGO Challenge Fund for education, equipment and monitoring. This website is funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Heritage Lottery fund is key to supporting many of our educational and outreach activities, bat care programme and bat box project.  See the Charity Commission website for latest accounts

Bats in Northern Ireland

What Organisations are Involved with Bats in Northern Ireland?

  • The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is the statutory agency with responsibility for protected species. This organisation ensures that the legislation protecting bats is enforced.
  • The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR, part of the National Museums of Northern Ireland) operates a Bat Hotline to provide advice on dealing with grounded bats or bats in houses, telephone 028 9039 5264. You can leave a message outside office hours. Alternatively email cedar.info@nmni.org.
  • The Northern Ireland Bat Group (NIBG) is a volunteer-led organisation that helps members of the public with bat queries, provides education, rehabilitates injured bats and undertakes surveys. If there is a NIBG representative in your area, he or she may be able to come to your school or club to give a talk about bats. NIBG shares bat records with CEDaR.
  • Bat Conservation Ireland trains volunteers in Northern Ireland who assist with several All-Ireland bat surveys (e.g. Daubenton’s Waterways Survey, Car-based Bat Monitoring and BATLAS 2020). The surveys are cross-border because these animals are mobile – our bat populations are shared! Information we collect on bat trends and distributions are for the island as a whole. We share bat records from Northern Ireland with CEDaR.
  • The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) co-ordinates bat roost counts and hibernation site surveys in Northern Ireland. If you know of a roost and would like to count the bats out on a summer’s evening please see their Roost Count page. Bat records collected by the BCT are shared with CEDaR and the NBN Atlas.

I have found a grounded or injured bat or I have bats in my house in Northern Ireland – What do I do?

Click here for more information

I like bats, how can I get involved?

There are several surveys ongoing in Northern Ireland that you may be interested in participating in as well as more hands on volunteering opportunities:

  • Summer Roost Count – this does not require prior experience.
  • Daubenton’s Waterways Survey – this detector survey is great for beginners. Free training is provided.
  • Car-based Bat Monitoring – no prior experience is necessary but there is limited deployment across the province. Equipment and training provided.
  • BATLAS 2020 – these surveys are suitable for individuals with some bat detector experience. Free training across the province in 2017 and 2018.
  • Hibernation Survey – suitable for licensed bat workers. You can sign up here if you already know of sites you can monitor, or contact us to find out how to get involved in hibernation surveys in NI.
  • National Bat Monitoring Programme – details can be found on how you can get involved with Bat Conservation Trust’s monitoring programmes.
  • Bat Box Surveys – suitable for licensed bat workers. Please contact us for more information on how to get involved.
  • Volunteer roost visitor – we provide free training to help you become a licensed volunteer roost visitor
  • Ambulance driver – we are seeking dedicated volunteers to help collect injured/grounded bats during the summer months. Free training provided.
  • Bat carer – train with our licensed bat carers and learn how to look after injured bats.

I would like to run an educational event for my local school or club – Who do I contact?

To book a workshop for your school or club please email chair@bats-ni.org.uk

I would like a Daubenton’s Waterways training Course or BATLAS training course to be held in my locality – Who do I contact?

Contact BCIreland