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Wicken Fen conservationist to host BBC documentary Into The Batcave ahead of Halloween

A conservationist based at Wicken Fen, just outside Soham , is set to share his knowledge about bats on primetime television next week.

Ajay Tegala will present the documentary Into The Batcave, which is on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday, alongside Lucy Cooke, of Springwatch fame, and bat expert Professor Kate Jones.

Just before Halloween, the hour-long programme busts some myths and reveals why we should appreciate, not fear, these intelligent flying mammals.

Bat expert Professor Kate Jones, Lucy Cooke and Ajay Tegala
Bat expert Professor Kate Jones, Lucy Cooke and Ajay Tegala

"I am absolutely thrilled to be presenting a documentary about bats," said Ajay, who started at Wicken Fen when he volunteered at the reserve when he was just 15.

"I remember the first time I saw a bat, as a child; the excitement of watching it fly so acrobatically. I have been fascinated by bats ever since," he said.

Ajay was sent to Linlithgow Castle near Edinburgh - birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots - to join an all-female bat group monitoring the castle ruins.

A bat roost
A bat roost

“My role in the documentary is presenting the citizen science angle - how anyone can get involved with their local bat group - and looking at new bat-recording technology being developed. Recording bats in a spooky castle into the early hours of the morning is something I will never forget”.

“I have led lots of bat and moth themed walks over the years. Taking youngsters out with a bat detector always goes down well.

“Giving children these experiences is so important and something I am very passionate about. This year, I have been moth-trapping with my nieces and nephews. They found it fascinating - I hope I am inspiring tomorrow’s naturalists.”

Inside the Bat Cave hosted by Ajay Tegala
Inside the Bat Cave hosted by Ajay Tegala

Inside the Bat Cave will follow four months in a rare Greater Horseshoe Bat maternity roost in the grounds of a Dorset private school, managed by Vincent Wildlife Trust, and features night vision camerawork to reveal the hidden life of the bats.

“Seeing these bats emerge from their roost at dusk was such a magical experience; watching dozens of them flying right over our heads,” said Ajay.

“Lots of people are scared of bats, but all of Britain’s bats are harmless to humans and are very intelligent.”

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