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The Northern Ireland Bat Group (NIBG) was formed in 1985. It holds in its files all the records of bat occurrence within Northern Ireland reported to the Group since that date by its members, by the staff of the Environment and Heritage Service and its predecessors In the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, and by other interested naturalists. There is at present a total of almost 2 500 records relating to more than 1 700 sites and covering the period up to the end of 1998. 1 275 of the sites held matemity or transition roosts and the remainder are places where single bats were found.
There has been a trickle of publications about Irish bats since the 19th century, with a relatively small number of individual specimens recorded and an even smaller number of nursery roost sites. The aims of the present work are:
- to present a series of maps showing the current distribution of all bat species at present known to occur in Northern Ireland, based on NIBG records from the early 1980s to the end of 1998
- to provide for comparison similar maps composed from published information relating to the previous 150 years
- where appropriate, to comment on status, distribution and habits
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