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Monday, December 5, 2022

Bat thought to be extinct found hiding

One of the final representatives of a species feared to be extinct has been spotted in a secret tunnel in the UK

Animal preservation activists had reason to rejoice this Christmas, after one of Britain’s last-known big bats was spotted hibernating in Sussex. A search for a mate to save the almost-extinct species has now begun in earnest.

Believed to be the nation’s most solitary animal, the greater mouse-eared bat, nicknamed ‘Lonely Joe’, was last seen in 2019. Concerns had been rising over the fate of the species, as he is thought to be the last survivor in the UK — once gone, it would be declared extinct. However, the country’s loneliest animal had been spotted over Christmas, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

A search for a partner for Lonely Joe has now been initiated. Animal lovers have been asked to look out for the big bats, the largest of Britain’s 11 bat species, whose wings can stretch to nearly 50cm (20in) when in flight.

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The solitary male was first discovered in 2002. He’s believed to have been born that year, making him almost 20 years old now. However, for his species, he’s actually not that old, as greater mouse-eared bats can live for up to 35 years. He was carefully inspected once in 2007, and found to be in good health, according to The Guardian, but examination of his private parts showed he had never been sexually active.

For many winters, he has been hibernating in the same disused dark tunnel in Sussex. It’s exact location is being kept secret, so as not to disturb him, as troubling a bat mid-hibernation can be life-threatening for the species.

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While Lonely Joe hangs motionless in his hiding place for almost five months every winter, where he spends the rest of the year remains unknown. Researchers considered putting a tag on him, but decided otherwise so as not to trouble him. The fact he flies only at night is another problem, as such tags are used primarily on migratory birds and are solar-powered.

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https://ift.tt/2hpq7SJ 29, 2021 at 02:58PM
from RT – Daily news

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