Bats take up residence outside the Pav

Campus has seen an increase in wildlife during the Covid-19 closure

Bats and other wildlife have taken residence on campus over the last few weeks while the country remained under lockdown due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The reduced human activity on campus alongside increased growth of wildflowers since College’s closure on March 12 has encouraged new wildlife activity around Trinity. 

Colm (Collie) Ennis, who is a research associate with the Zoology department and a security guard, tweeted his discovery of bats on campus yesterday evening. The tweet included a video of the sound of bats hunting for “moths and bugs” that had been attracted by the wildflowers outside of the Pavilion Bar (the Pav). 

Speaking to Trinity News, Ennis stated: “I’ve been watching the development of the wildflower meadow with great interest over the lockdown.”

“It has attracted an extraordinary amount of invertebrate life over the spring and summer,” he added. “Bees, beetles, butterflies and more all drawn in by the habitat.”

Ennis explained that with the recent insect activity increasing on college grounds, he thought it would be “worth a shot” to search for bats. He said he used an “old” bat detector, which picks up the bats sonar and makes it audible for human ears.

Ennis said: “Soon as I finished my security shift I went down to the wildflowers, turned it on and instantly heard what I believe to be pipistrelle bats and I could actually make out at least four feeding along the treeline at the Pav and just above the meadow beside it.”

“Seeing bats feeding like that in the heart of the city really is a testament to how valuable this small area is to biodiversity,” Ennis continued. 

He added: “It’s a fantastic initiative and everyone involved in creating this habitat should be congratulated. Something that the college community can be very proud of.”

In February, College proposed the introduction of a wildflower meadow on the lawn outside of Front Gate to “increase the biodiversity” of campus.

A poll of staff and students on the planting of a wildflower meadow received over 13,000 votes, with a 90% result in favour.

By not mowing or treating the lawn, College hoped to increase food and habitat space for important pollinators (like bees and dragonflies), while increasing biodiversity in the city centre. 

This space is in addition to other wildflower gardens around campus which are used for research, such as the wildflower garden near the Chemistry building and the Pav where Ennis discovered the bats.

According to its biodiversity objectives, College aims to increase biodiversity rich campus spaces by 5%, while increasing total green areas and trees by 10%. This increase attempts to address the estimated one million plant and animal species which are at risk of extinction due to human driven habitat loss.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.