For Immediate Release
June 13, 2013
Maine Audubon Seeks Information on Bat Colony Locations throughout State
“White Nose Syndrome” continues to impact Maine bat populations
Statewide – Longer days, warmer weather and blooming gardens are sure signs of the coming summer season. Another sign of summer, bats swooping to catch insects through the summer dusk sky, may not come as readily this year. The recent introduction of “White Nose Syndrome (WNS),” a cold-tolerant fungus that has wiped out entire bat hibernating colonies, has had a dramatic impact on the bat population in the Northeast – to date, more than five million bats have died because of WNS. Maine Audubon needs the help of Maine residents to identify the location of maternal bat colonies throughout the state (where female bats group together to raise their young). Information from citizen scientists will help establish a baseline for breeding bats.
“White Nose Syndrome is having a quick and pervasive impact on little and big brown bats,” noted Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist. “Of the 45 historic colonies identified by citizen scientists last year, only 12 had bats actually roosting – and none of them raised any pups.” This is the second year of a two-year study conducted in partnership with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, with support provided by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Foundation. Little and big brown bat colonies are usually found in attics, barns, church eaves, old theaters, abandoned buildings, homes, garages and other structures. Peak bat activity takes place now through the end of July.
Maine Audubon wants to know the location of all bat colonies and interested volunteers can follow an established protocol for estimating colony size by counting the number of bats emerging at dusk. “Because of the devastation of WNS on bat colonies, we are even looking for historical information – if you know of a bat colony that has not seen activity this year, we still want to hear about it,” noted Gallo.
Bat colony observations can be submitted at www.maineaudubon.org/bats. For questions or further information about the Bat Conservation Project, please email Susan Gallo at [email protected] or call (207) 781-2330 x216.
To learn more about the impact of White Nose Syndrome on Maine bats, please watch a recent episode of MPBN’s Maine Watch (http://bit.ly/1bwpec7) that features Susan Gallo.
About Maine Audubon
Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization in the state, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.
Conserving Maine’s wildlife. For everyone.
Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.
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