Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 1998

BCI Highlights

A brief review of some of BCI's accomplishments in the last six months.

A brief review of some of BCI's accomplishments in the last six months.

"BCI Highlights" is a new department in BATS, designed to keep BCI members better informed about our ongoing programs. While we often feature our biggest successes in BATS articles, many other achievements go without mention. We hope this periodic report will fill in some of those gaps. For more information on any of these programs, please visit our web site at, or call our office at (512) 327-9721 and ask for the coordinator of the program. You may also request a copy of BCI's annual report or view it on our web site.

North American Bat Conservation Partnership

Began reviewing first round of grants for projects across the continent. Received 28 proposals from 14 states, Mexico, and Canada. Combining our partners' funds with our own, we will support nearly $570,000 worth of high-priority bat con-
servation projects in 1998.

Cosponsored Karst and Cave Management Symposium and first-ever Cave Gating Workshop in Washington. Workshop participants built two gates
on Boulder Cave to protect
both maternity and hibernation roosts for Townsend's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii), a species of concern. 

Reached agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide information for improving management standards and guidelines regarding bats in forests and range lands.

Signed cooperative agreements with the National Speleological Society and the American Cave Conservation Association.

BCI Web Site

Added the following features:1997 Annual Report; Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Bats and Rabies; Texas Bats and Bridges Project report; Designs for Retrofitting Bridges; Transcripts for BCI Audiovisual Programs; 1997 Media Coverage Report; Bibliography of Bat Literature.

Secured our catalogue ordering site so visitors can place orders on-line.

North American Bat House Research Project

Learned from Research Associates across the continent that several new styles of houses have proven successful in attracting bats: plastic nursery houses made from PVC; long, narrow "rocket boxes" that slide over a 4x4 post; and simple panel houses incorporated into buildings.

Achieved a record rate of occupancy--nearly 78 percent--among Research Associates' nursery-style bat houses that were up for one year or more, mounted at least ten feet above ground, painted a color appropriate for their region, and exposed to at least six hours of daily summer sun.

U.S.- Mexico Migratory Bat Initiative (PCMM)

Introduced the first Spanish-language Key to the Bats of Mexico book, an essential conservation tool for educators, scientists, and government officials.

Gained a significant population increase--from 100,000 bats in 1995, to 500,000 in 1997--at Cueva de la Boca, Mexico's largest overwintering cave for Mexican free tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis), in part as a result of community education.

Produced the bilingual storybook, Marcelo el Murciélago/Marcelo the Bat, which is now being distributed to thousands of students free of charge by the Coca-Cola Company in conjunction with the "Amos de la Noche" ("Masters of the Night") exhibit in Mexico.

North American Bats and Mines Project
Protected Wisconsin's second largest mine hibernation roost, the Bay City Mine, which houses more than 25,000 bats. In a joint effort by BCI, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Unimin Corporation (which donated the land), and Bob Eder of Levitation Drill and Blast, two entrances were fitted with bat-friendly gates.

Saved over 120,000 bats by gating 11 openings of the Graphite Mine in northern New York. Six bat species, including federally endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis), call the mine home. This project was possible due to the cooperative efforts of BCI, The Nature Conservancy, International Paper, and the American Cave Conservation Association.

Completed investigation of gate acceptance by cave myotis (Myotis velifer) in a Fort Bowie National Park mine in Southern Arizona. The large maternity colony adapted well to the temporary gate, and we installed the permanent gate, thanks to Dr. Scott Altenbach, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Led two "Mine Assessment for Bats" workshops in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Illinois and Utah. Demand for these workshops remains high; more than 100 federal, state, and private land managers attended 1997 sessions.

Provided design specifications and guidance for construction of Australia's first artificial underground bat habitat, built by the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service. It is hoped this artificial mine will become the new home of 10,000 lesser bent-wing bats (Miniopteris australis), forced from their original mine home by volatile gases.

Conducted surveys of more than 300 mines at BHP Copper's Robinson Operations in Ruth, Nevada, and of more than 40 mines at Phelps Dodge's Morenci Mine. At Phelps Dodge, BCI also led a team of BLM, Arizona Game and Fish, and mine biologists to cooperatively restore the Eagle Creek Cave, once considered the largest Mexican free-tailed bat maternity site in the world.

Bats and Bridges Project
Worked with individuals and state and federal agencies to design and install artificial habitat in highway structures in California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas. Made agreements with the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, and the Arizona Department of Transportation to incorporate bat habitat into new highway structures this year.

Tested five bridge habitat designs, each of which has successfully attracted bats. They are already providing housing for hundreds of bats.

Elsewhere Around the World
Assisted Conservatoire Du Patrimoine Naturel with the purchase and protection of a cave in France that is home to more than 900 bats of 13 different species.

Supplied bat detectors, in conjunction with Pettersson Electronik AB, to support much-needed bat surveys across Slovakia, while helping to fund local community education.

We regret that, given our limited space, we cannot possibly acknowledge all the organizations and individuals who have contributed to these projects. Your support is deeply appreciated.

Bat House Project Coordinator Mark Kiser studies evening bats in a pair of plastic nursery houses designed by Marvin Maberry of Texas.

Participants at the September 1997 Cave-Gating Workshop carry steel to Boulder Cave to build a protective gate. "Bat-friendly" gates restrict human entry into the cave without restricting bats or airflow. Two gates were built at the cave in two workshop sessions.

All articles in this issue:

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