SAVE OUr Bats
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SAVING THE Northern Long-Eared Bat
The northern long-eared bat — distinguishable from its close relatives, as one might presume, by its long ears — is a small bat associated with mature, interior forest environments. Unlike most other bats, the northern long-eared forages along wooded hillsides and ridgelines — not above valley-bottom streams and along the edges of riparian forests. This species is also much more solitary in its roosting and hibernating habits than are other bats, preferring to hide in tight crevices and holes over hanging out in open areas within caves. Sometimes, only the nose and ears of northern long-eared bats are visible when it hibernates.
Of the six species known to be affected by the deadly bat-disease white-nose syndrome to date, the northern long-eared is among the hardest hit. In the U.S. Northeast, where white-nose syndrome has been killing bats for the longest period of time (since 2006), the northern long-eared has declined by a shocking 98 percent.
Because of the species’ strong association with large blocks of older forests, forest fragmentation, logging and forest conversion (such as clearing trees for agriculture and development) are also major threats to the species — not to mention direct human disturbance; badly sited wind-energy projects, which kill bats that fly into them; environmental contaminants like pesticides and fracking wastewater; and other forms of habitat destruction, such as mining.
Because of these ongoing threats and this bat’s dramatic decline due to white-nose syndrome, the Center petitioned for the northern long-eared bat to be added to the federal list of endangered species in 2010.