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Gray bat

The gray bat (Myotis grisescens) is primarily found in Alabama, northern Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, but has also been documented in northwestern Florida, western Georgia, southwestern Kansas, south Indiana, south and southwestern Illinois, northeastern Oklahoma, northeastern Mississippi, western Virginia, and possibly western North Carolina [1]. About 95% of hibernating bats are found in just eight caves: two in Tennessee, three in Missouri, and one each in Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas [2]. The primary threat to the species is disturbance and vandalism of maternity and hibernacula caves which can cause mortality of young bats and abndonment of caves.

Approximately 2.25 million gray bats existed in 1970 [1]. It was placed on the endangered species in 1976 and continued to declining from 2.0 million bats in 1979, to 1.6 million in 1982 to 1.5 million in 1992 [3]. Thereafter it strongly increased to 2.3 million in 2001 [3] and 2.5 million in 2003 [4]. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced an intent to downlist the bat to threatened [6], but has not issued a formal proposal

Missouri. 23 maternity sites in 15 counties were surveyed in 2004 [5]. The population level consistent with recent surveys and higher than thirty years ago. The Mary Lawson Cave was purchase by the state in 2003 and bat gate was installed in 2004. The summer count at the site was 40,000 to 54,000 bats. Tumbling Creek Cave housed 12,000 bats in 1998, 19,000 in 2003, and 21,000-37,000 in 2004. An internal gate was removed and external chute gate added between the 2003 and 2004 counts.

[1] USFWS. 1992. Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region.
[2] Harvey, M.J. and R.K. Redman. 2003. Endangered Bats of Arkansas: Distribution, Status, and Ecology (2002-2003). Annual Report to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
[3] Mitchell, W.A. and C.O. Martin. 2002. Cave- and Crevice-Dwelling Bats on USACE Projects: Gray Bat. ERDC TN-EMRRP-SI-25.
[4] Harvey, M.J., R.K. Redman and C.S. Chaney. 2004. Endangered Bats of Arkansas: Distribution, Status and Ecology (2003-2004). Annual Report to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Project Number W-56-R.
[5] Homer, P. 2005. Missouri's Threatened and Endangered Species Accomplishment Report: July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005. Missouri Department of Conservation.
[6] Department of Interior. 2002. Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. December 9, 2002 (67 FR 74583)

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