Interview: James Shipman

After gaining a bit of notoriety for winning The Bat Conservation’s Trust’s Pete Guest award, we decided it was important to track James Shipman down for an interview. His hard work and commitment have been a huge factor in winning this award and he is inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.

A short introduction

My name is James Shipman, I work for Glendale Civic Trees as a landscape supervisor. I’m also the Chairman of the Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire Bat Group.


James Shipman performing the role of a “chairman”

What are your earliest memories of your passion for nature?

I always remember wildlife being a huge part of my life, from catching stickleback fish to seeing stag beetles. But my main love was working in South Africa with big wildlife! I now love bats! This is my passion and hobby!

kq5a7835 kq5a7864

Ringed bat, Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), for conservation and scientific purposes

What mammal-related topic has pricked up your ears recently?

Bats and wind turbines! I never realised how dangerous they were to flying creatures!

kq5a7805 kq5a7876 kq5a7839Measuring the forearm-length of Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

Can you explain further and whether you think this is relevant to UK mammals and Biodiversity?

Certainly! I think it has a huge impact on our UK animals.

[Ed.The discovery of dead bats and birds underneath wind turbines in the US and in mainland Europe, has lead to research in the UK, revealing that bat mortality rates at some sites are equivalent to those in Europe but there is very high variability between sites. Onshore wind turbines may be an issue for bats not only because of the risk of direct collision if turbines are placed on migration or commuting routes or in important foraging habitat, but also because of potential displacement from foraging habitat. Taken from BCT,]


Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

You are a bat expert, could you tell us a bit about UK bat species? Which one do you find more interesting and why? What do you think we could do to help them?

There are 17/18 species of bats in the UK, from big to small! My favourite is the noctule bat. It is the largest UK species and flies high above the tree lines hunting large beetles and moths. It has a beautiful coat like a Labrador and amazing large wings!

The best advice I would give on helping bats in the UK is to plant night scented plants in your garden to attract insects. This will bring the bats! Also, ponds and bog gardens are fab!

Thank you for your time, James!

kq5a7860 Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)


Disclaimer: the views expressed by interviewees do not necessarily reflect those of The Mammal Next Door