More than 400 staff from HSBC are embarking on a month-long project to help construct a unique enclosure at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust as from next week.

The project will involve upgrading the current tunnel that houses the Livingstone's fruit bat using around 800 locally-sourced used tyres, which will be filled with earth and used to create the exterior wall of the new tunnel.

Taking approximately one month to complete, the project will require a team of twenty HSBC volunteers each weekday until the enclosure is finished. With the first session getting under way on Tuesday 2nd November, more than 2,500 man-hours will be donated to the project over the course of the month. Already this week, staff from HSBC have begun helping clear the old foliage and netting from inside the current bat tunnel to enable work to start next week.

The new ‘tyre tunnel’ will be the first sustainable building of its kind in Jersey and will provide the perfect environmental conditions for the tropical Livingstone’s fruit bat. As well as being a sustainable and energy efficient enclosure, the new tunnel will also provide as near a natural habitat as possible for the bats, vastly improving their living environment.

In addition to providing volunteers to build the new bat tunnel, HSBC is also funding a new efficient and sustainable heating and lighting system that will create the right environmental conditions for the enclosure. The installation of these systems will greatly improve the building’s energy efficiency and help Durrell potentially save around £5,000 per year in energy costs.

Mark Brayshaw, Head of Animal Collection from Durrell said:

“The unique upgraded structure will be far more efficient in terms of energy use and much better for both the viewing public and the bats – the new tunnel will incorporate a hospital area and provide a much more thermally stable environment for this tropical species. Installing the new heating and lighting system is also a major development that will dramatically reduce our energy costs. I am grateful for HSBC’s support for this highly original project, which demonstrates recycling, environmentally friendly building techniques and highly innovative energy saving concepts.”

Nick Winsor, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Offshore Islands, commented:

“This collaboration with our long-term community partners Durrell absolutely resonates with HSBC's commitment to sustainability in our local communities and I am delighted that so many of our staff will be involved in this worthwhile project over the coming weeks. Not only is it unusual, it also provides staff at HSBC with an incredible opportunity to take part in a challenging initiative that will create a spectacular structure, improve the living environment for the bats and give members of the public a fantastic view all year round.”