Bats fi­nally on the move from hy­dro board of­fice

The Oban Times - - News -

STAFF in In­ver­garry will soon be able to re­turn to their of­fice af­ter be­ing chased out by bats.

The 12-strong SSE hy­dro work­force has been ‘evicted’ from the sta­tion’s mess build­ing in In­ver­garry for the past three years thanks to 500 so­prano pip­istrelle bats.

This year, SSE wildlife ex­pert, Alastair Stephen is work­ing with SNH and a bat ecol­o­gist to re­lo­cate the furry fly­ing mam­mals.

The bats took up res­i­dence in the roof and walls of the build­ing, only a few hun­dred feet from the 20MW power sta­tion which sees wa­ter car­ried from Loch Garry by a tun­nel near the mouth of the River Garry on Loch Oich.

Over the past few years, staff have re­sorted to work­ing from a por­ta­ble cabin to avoid the en­durance of the strong smell of am­mo­nia given off by the mam­mals’ drop­pings when they emerge in the sum­mer.

The task Alis­tair is faced with is an un­usual one, as he is nor­mally fo­cused on fish­eries.

He said: ‘A key pri­or­ity for us is to en­sure the bats are re­lo­cated safely and with­out dis­rup­tion to their nat­u­ral be­havioural pat­terns.

‘My day job is work­ing in har­mony with na­tive salmon pop­u­la­tions and other aquatic wildlife in­ter­ests, so deal­ing with the bats is slightly dif­fer­ent, but im­mensely in­ter­est­ing. Our In­ver­garry team will also be thank­ful to be re­in­stated in their own mess room be­fore too long.’

ON THE MOVE: one of the so­prano pip­strelle bats found at a Lochaber Scot­tish hy­dro


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