The Northern long-eared bat has suffered severe declines from the devastating disease White-nose Syndrome.

Northern long-eared bat, J. Scott Altenbach

Bat Conservation International supports the recent decision of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to propose reclassifying the Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Northern long-eared bat has suffered severe declines from the devastating disease White-nose Syndrome (WNS). The disappearance of Northern long-eared bats across most of their range has been staggeringly rapid as WNS swept across the continent. The proposed decision by the USFWS will provide the highest level of protection for a species that desperately needs it.

The proposal to protect the Northern long-eared bat as Endangered is based on a comprehensive analysis of the status of the species that was led by the coalition of the North American Bat Monitoring Program. Bat Conservation International was part of the collaborative team that collated and analyzed data to provide the realistic assessment of the species and its perilous status. BCI researchers also led a scientific paper published last year in the journal Conservation Biology that showed the threat severity of WNS as extreme, with a loss of more than 97% of known winter colonies of Northern long-eared bats. 

The news from USFWS to protect the Northern long-eared bat as an Endangered species is a stark reminder of just how important it is to continue to protect habitats and find solutions to ensure the survival of bats – in the United States and around the world.

“Although I am deeply saddened by the critical situation that warrants listing Northern long-eared bats as Endangered, I am incredibly proud of our BCI team for helping ensure that this species receives the protection it deserves”, said Dr. Winifred Frick, BCI’s Chief Scientist.

BCI scientists continue to work to find solutions that bring the best chance of recovery and survival of the Northern long-eared bat. From protecting roost sites to enhancing foraging, BCI is committed to finding solutions and aiding recovery plans for this species across its range.