Updated: Mar 30
COVID 19 has been a subject of much worry across the nation and we wanted to provide a statement about how we want to tackle the difficulties faced in regards to bat care and keeping our volunteers, you the public and our bats safe.
If you find a bat please contact The Bat Conservation Trust on 0345 1300 228 on what to do if you find a bat. If Bristol Bat Rescue is your closest bat rescue then we can advise and initially try to ascertain whether it is possible for the finder to release the bat (following our instructions) without us needing to attend.
We are available for the time being to rescue bats and we are being kept updated by the Bat Conservation Trust and following their guidance in regards to how best to deal with this challenge.
We still want to be able to save our bats and conserve them through this tough time but we do not wish to implicate or put anyone at risk so we are following some simple and safe steps to enable us to do so.
If we believe the bat requires assessment or treatment it may be possible for a BBR member to attend as some of us have been given letters from Bat Conservation Trust to explain to the police why our journey is essential if we are stopped.
This is the latest advice from The Bat Conservation Trust for our Bat Carers an the public:
- No member of the team is allowed to carry out a rescue if they are having to isolate. Anyone attending a rescue call is aware of all the measures they must take to prevent risks of infection. - We will ask if the caller is having to isolate and whether they have been confirmed as infected, or considered vulnerable . - We will also ask you to confirm in writing your name, address and contact details, and confirmation that you are transferring the responsibility of the bat's care to us in line with the Animal Welfare Act. Without this we can not come to collect the bat. This can be text, email or photo. - We are not allowed to enter the property of the caller the finder must get the bat contained in a box before we will attend. - When our team member arrives they will phone you to ask you to place the box outside, where they will collect it. Please do not approach our team member as we must all observe the 2 meter rule. = If one of our team cannot attend, and you can not deliver the bat to us, and you can not find an alternative by contacting Bat Conservation Trust, there are alternatives you can take the bat to- vets, the RSPCA in St Philips, and Secret World in Somerset. You have to phone all of these first to ensure they can see you.
The Current Guidelines on Social distancing:
- to avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of Covid 19;
- to travel on public transport if really needed;
- to work from home if at all possible;
- to avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas;
- to avoid events with large groups of people;
- to not have visitors to your home, including friends and family.
The most up to date guidance can be found here.
The general idea is to make sure our volunteers avoid unnecessary contact with the public when rescuing bats to both protect them and others around them. This is important as we cannot tell if our bat carers or the finders have been exposed to the virus as it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to be apparent. Ultimately the bat carer must assess every situation and be mindful of themselves and others especially vulnerable people.
When rescuing bats please can our BBR volunteers and the public read through these simple steps:
- When collecting bats please can the finders place the bat in a secure box and leave it on the doorstep so as to minimise contact with the rescuer;
- The finder must where gloves and a face mask if possible when collecting the bat;
- Transfer the bat into a clean disinfected box and then dispose of the finder's box in a sensible way;
- Good hygiene is essential, washing your hands before you arrive at the finders house and when you arrive home with the bat is ESSENTIAL;
- Be mindful of touching your face and others around you;
Please be aware that advice keeps changing due to the spread of the virus so we will keep you updated as much as we can.
Mental health and psychological well-being is highly important during this time so please take a look at this article written by the World Health Organisation here.
Stress can be caused by media coverage and by fake news, we hope you try and concentrate on you and your loved ones during this time, and to stay present and positive where you are able.
Thank you to all of you that have rescued and helped BBR over the past year and we will continue, with your support to #helpsaveourbats