Media & Education
Volume 35, Issue 1, 2016
A Promising Start
A rare sighting renews hope
For the average bat enthusiast, there is perhaps no better way to kick off the New Year than spotting a critically endangered species. This New Year’s Eve, Ralph Arwood was the man to be. Since 2012, Arwood and his research team have been on the hunt for the rare Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). On Dec. 21, Arwood finally made his long-awaited discovery in Big Cypress National Preserve, when his acoustic monitors indicated that a family of bats was roosting in the cavity of an old woodpecker tree. Arwood and his team watched the sun set over the horizon that day, patiently waiting to confirm signs of life in the cavity 30 feet above. Sure enough, one bat after another emerged from its asylum. Their size and recorded calls confirmed that they were what Arwood spent all of three years chasing—the rare Florida bonneted bat.
Arwood’s sighting was actually the second confirmed roosting site found that same week; acoustic monitors also detected the echolocation calls of the species in a four-story condominium near a Miami city park.
Although the Florida bonneted bat population remains under threat, these recent sightings are inspiring—not only do they fill us with optimism, but they also serve as an important reminder to renew our New Year’s resolution of protecting bats at home and around the world.
A Fantastic Find
To read more about Ralph Arwood’s find and to watch a video of these Florida bonneted bats flying out from their roost, visit ralpharwood.com/blog.