Wicken Fen ranger to present BBC2 bats documentary

A Cambridgeshire conservationist who was inspired to become a ranger when he volunteered at Wicken Fen aged 15 will present a BBC nature documentary next week.

Ajay Tegala hosts BBC2’s Inside the Bat Cave alongside Springwatch favourite and animal expert Lucy Cooke and bat expert Professor Kate Jones.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be presenting a documentary about bats”, said Ajay.

“Each summer, I monitor the pipistrelle bat roost in the café at Wicken Fen.

“When I watch dozens of bats emerge from a tiny hole, flying so acrobatically out into the night, it reminds me why I became so fascinated with bats when I was a child.” “So when I got a call from my agent asking if I would like to co-present a programme on bats, of course my answer was an instant yes.”

Ajay was sent to Linlithgow Castle near Edinburgh to join an all-female local bat group monitoring the castle ruins.

He said: “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”.

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Having been a ranger both on the Norfolk coast and now in the Fens, he added: “I have led lots of bat and moth themed walks over the years.

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“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 on the family farm in the Norfolk Broads. They found it fascinating - I hope I am inspiring tomorrow’s naturalists.”

Inside the Batcave’ centres around a greater horseshoe bat roost in the grounds of a Dorset private school.

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

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

“I hope people will watch the documentary, learn a few surprising facts about bats and end up loving and respecting them as much as I do.

“After all, respecting and conserving our natural world has never been so important.”

The hour-long documentary about Britain’s bats airs at 9pm on Monday October 26.