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Thermal bat detection gets scientists in a flutter

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:26

Conservationists are using thermal imaging technology in a bid to better understand the habits of Britain's threatened bats. Nathan Frandino reports.

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STORY: For 25 years, Simon Holmes has been trekking through the natural habitats of England's bats. And each year he's finding fewer and fewer of the country's 18 species. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON HOLMES, BAT CONSERVATION EXPERT, SAYING: "They've declined in number significantly over the last 50 to 70 years. Some populations we think are more stable than others. But geographically bats can be very low numbers in some areas." It's a problem that he and others are trying to taper with the help of thermal imaging cameras. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON HOLMES, BAT CONSERVATION EXPERT, SAYING: "The cameras are used in a wide variety of applications, but the most important one is actually trying to detect bats either leaving a roost or returning to a roost, or if they're in an obscure area, say ivy in a tree." And now they're seeing bats in a whole new light. By using the heat emitted by the bats, Holmes can detect them without disturbing them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON HOLMES, BAT CONSERVATION EXPERT, SAYING: "Okay, we just had a bat leaving the roost. There's another one in the entrance way looking to leave. It's just gone as well. there's another one and another." And with the ability to see the flying mammals and to share them more widely, conservationists hope they can protect the bats, before they fly away for good.

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Thermal bat detection gets scientists in a flutter

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:26