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Key Species: Bats and Adders

Both the Kent Downs AONB and the PNR CMO shelter key species such as adders and bats, for which specific cross border habitat management and restoration activities are underway.

In Kent, the Northern viper or adder (Vipera berus) is widely distributed across the North Downs but there is clear evidence that populations are of significant conservation concern. Threats to the adders include agricultural intensification, commercial and residential development projects, unsympathetic management of terrestrial vegetation and direct persecution. The adder has been listed as a red data book species in Kent since the year 2000. Despite this, habitats in which they occur are often unsympathetically managed, even by conservation practitioners. In 2007, increasing concerns for the national conservation status of the adder was recognised when the species was listed as a Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 gives adders protection against deliberate killing and injury. Unfortunately, their habitat is not protected and it is perfectly legal to destroy hibernacula and foraging areas, providing that individual animals are not killed in the process. This results are often poor attempts to translocate whole adder populations from proposed development sites. The adder faces similar threats in northern France.

The Landscape and Nature for All project has evaluated the distribution of adder populations and  produced  Action Plans for both Kent and PNRCMO areas to protect the adder.. The project also organised exchanges about the different approaches to adder conservation

Woodlands and hedgerows form important corridors for bats to feed and travel between roosting sites. Even though it is thought that the KDAONB has many habitats suitable for several bat species, there is very little data available on this subject. Similarly, there are few studies on the possible negative impacts of habitat conservation works on bat roosting and feeding sites.

Woodlands and hedgerows form important corridors for bats to feed and travel between roosting sites. Even though it is thought that the KDAONB has many habitats suitable for several bat species, there is very little data available on this subject. Similarly, there are few studies on the possible negative impacts of habitat conservation works on bat roosting and feeding sites.

The exchange of specialist bat knowledge (including methodologies for capture, monitoring, material used,  between French and English partners  greatly enhanced  site monitoring studies and lead to the production of a cross border methodology guide. This partnership will also improve site management to enable greater ecological and historical awareness of bat sites including improved public welcome.
 

 

 

Further Information

The Kent Bat Group website has useful information about bats. The KRAG website has useful information about adders.
 

Kent_Adder_Action_Plan
Kent Adder Management Plan