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Holy tree surgery! New home for bats being created at Dundreggan in time for Halloween

An old larch tree has been veteranised to accommodate the local bat population at Dundreggan

In fang-tastic news for the local bat population, a new roosting spot is being created in Dundreggan – just in time for Halloween.

The work at Trees for Life’s Dundreggan Rewilding Estate near Glenmoriston aims to provide a safe place in an old larch tree for wildlife to feed and live.

Tree surgeons are veteranising the tree, which involves mimicking natural features to replicate damage caused by wind, lightning or decay, where cracks and holes are formed.

The work creates cracks in which bats can safely roost.

Tree surgeons have carefully mimicked the features to allow bats to roost

Tree will act as a talking point for visitors

The tree has been adapted to host an array of bat species, including the brown long-eared bat, Natterer’s bat, soprano pipistrelle, common pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat.

Doug Gilbert, Dundreggan manager for Trees for Life, said: “As well as offering a safe space for our population of local bats, the veteranised tree will also act as a talking point for visitors to our Dundreggan Rewilding Centre when it opens in 2023.

“Modern tree and forest management practices often mean that damaged trees are removed and the deadwood habitat they provide is lost.

“But such trees and deadwood support various species in addition to bats including woodpeckers which tap for grubs in the rotting trunk, fungi which feed on the decaying wood and so release its nutrients back into the surrounding area, and countless insects.”

Dundreggan manager Douglas Gilbert

He continued: “One of our most popular community events at Dundreggan has been a bat walk where groups have learnt about our local bats and enjoyed bat-spotting with bat detectors.

“Bat-spotting and other wildlife watching will be part of the programme of activities on offer at the new Rewilding Centre once it’s open to the public.”

The craft of mimicking natural features has been carried out by Inverness based Pals Tree Services.

Work has been carried out to accommodate Dundreggan’s vast bat population

Centre due to open in 2023

The rewilding centre – thought to be a worlds first – spans 10,000-acres and will be free to access.

It is due to open in 2023.

The centre will include accessible trails, child friendly forest adventures as well as more adventurous routes for the avid hillwalker.

People walking near Loch Ness in the Highlands, where the world’s first rewilding centre is to open after receiving more than £2 million of funding.

A cafe, classrooms, an events space and a 40-bed accommodation building will also be constructed, welcoming visitors to discover stunning wild landscapes and to learn about unique wildlife.

Work at the £5.5million centre got underway in August with the symbolic planting of a rowan tree. 

The conservation charity anticipates more than 50,000 visitors annually, with the new venture also expected to create 15 new jobs.

The estate is home to a vast number of species, including the rare ‘silky gallows’ spider.

A visualisation of how the rewilding centre will look once complete

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