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Hope Flies In

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Hope Flies In

Published on May 20, 2016


Given the rising number of endangered species, you might be forgiven for thinking that National Endangered Species day is a disheartening celebration. While many of the more than 1,300 species of bats are fighting against habitat loss, the changing climate, and human fears, it is not all doom and gloom. There are shining lights of hope, as people and their communities gather together to help our furry flying friends. Take a look at a few of the endangered species below and the amazing conservation work that gives us hope.

 

Hope flies in 2
Florida bonneted bat Credit: Micaela Jemison

Florida Bonneted Bat

In December 2015, in depths the Big Cypress National Preserve, Ralph Arwood was on the lookout for something special-the critically endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). Living in only a handful of southern Florida counties, the Florida bonneted bat is as rare as it is unique. Then on News Eve Arwood found his prize. A new roost for the Florida bonneted bat! Hope for promising future for the Florida bonneted bat increases as we discover more about the types of habitats this species calls home.

Members of the community are helping scienctists search for these elusive bats and their preferred habitats. Flying high above the trees, scientists struggle to catch these bats with normal survey techniques; keeping researchers in the dark about most of their habits. Recording their distinctive calls using acoustic equipment however is proving a great way to shed more light on their behaviors. Members of the community are helping BCI and research scientists to listen for bats at their homes across Florida.

With the help of these volunteers, scientists are gaining a better understanding of the species range and wich habitats we need to protect to ensure the future of the Florida bonneted bat.

 

 

Northern long-eared bat

With a cute fluffy body and great big ears, the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is an adorable part of the North American ecosystem. Sadly this species is one of the most recent additions to the Endangered Species Act, being listed as federally endangered in 2015. With populations declining due to of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a devastating fungal disease spreading across North America, these bats are facing a difficult future. But all is not lost for this little bat!

Hope flies in 1
Northern long-eared myotis Credit: Scott Altenbach

Bat Conservation International, along with partner universities and conservation groups, are conducting research into developing new ways to treat the fungus that causes WNS. Land managers and cave visitors are also working to prevent the spread of the disease by decontaminating clothing and equipment, as well as restricting access to important caves.

But you don’t have to be a scientist to help the northern long-eared bat and other North American bats at risk from WNS. People all over are building bat houses to keep species like the northern long-eared bat safe and snug when they hibernate. These bat houses are especially important in April through August as mother bats search for somewhere to raise their pups in peace.



Mexican long-nosed bat

As the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) struggles against population decline and habitat loss things look pretty bleak for this flower friendly flier. Pollinating agave and other plants in their search for nectar, these bats provide an important service to the ecosystems of central Mexico through parts of the U.S. Faced with fewer and fewer roosting sites, and only one known mating site, the Mexican long-nosed bat has been listed as an endangered species in the U.S. as well as Mexico.

Hope flies in 3
Mexican long-nosed bat Credit: MerlinTuttle.org

Flying over international boundaries the Mexican long-nosed bat poses a difficult conundrum for conservationists, but things are starting to look up as programs on both sides of the border rally to help. Both the Program for Conservation of Mexican Bats (PCMM) and Bat Conservation International have come together to learn more about these night time pollinators. Searching for other roosting sites, and protecting the single known mating cave, BCI and PCMM are helping to keep the bats safe no matter where they fly. In addition BCI has been working on the protection of the agave fields that the Mexican long-nosed bat relies on for food.

While bat conservation in the U.S. keeps the breeding grounds safe and programs in Mexico help protect the southern habitat of this highly migratory species, the dividing line between the two countries poses a unique problem for conservationists. Protecting the Mexican long-nose bat year round will take a united effort and that’s just what conservation activists in both countries are working towards. In early 2016, the Nivalis Conservation Network, comprising of bat and conservation experts from both countries, met for the first time to address the problems facing these boarder-hopping bats. This international group hopes to protect the bats as well as come up with a plan for recovery.

 By Erin Ziegler

Our bats need your help.

Bats account for nearly a quarter of all mammal species and are vital to almost every ecosystem on Earth. Yet sadly, many of these animals are under threat of extinction due to habitat destruction. You can help our endangered bats fight for survival by supporting bat conservation 

Help us celebrate National Endangered Species Day by donating to protect habitat for bats. Your gift is a vital investment in a healthy future for bats and their habitats.

 

 

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