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Gate Installed to Protect Endangered Bats

Contact:
Sandra Houghton: (603) 271-5679
Becky Johnson: (603) 271-3211

October 26, 2017

CONCORD, NH -- This fall, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program installed a gate at a mine in New Hampshire’s North Country to protect hibernating bats.  Disturbance during the winter can cause bats to wake from hibernation and deplete their limited fat stores at a time when food is unavailable.  Both little brown bats (state-endangered) and northern long-eared bats (federally threatened and state-endangered) have been documented during the winter at the mine where the gate was installed.

 

New Hampshire’s bats need our help.  Bats in the state have suffered from extremely high mortality rates since White Nose Syndrome (WNS) was first documented in New Hampshire in 2009.  Little brown bats, previously the most numerous bats in the Northeast, are sustaining the largest number of deaths.  Northern long-eared bat populations have also been decimated by WNS.  The fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, grows into the skin of the bat’s wing, damaging the skin, muscles, and blood vessels.  There is no treatment yet for the fungus.

 

Bats are an important part of our ecosystem.  They are the single greatest predator of night-flying insects. In the summer, bats eat about half their body weight or more in insects every night – their diet may include agricultural pests, forest pests, and mosquitoes.

 

Bats are also cool!  They are the only mammal that truly flies, and bats have a special ability called “echolocation” that allows them to find their way through the woods and locate the flying insects they depend upon for food.

 

This project is part of a northeast regional initiative funded by a Regional Conservation Need Grant (a part of the federal State Wildlife Grants program), with matching funds from the Conservation License Plate (Moose Plate) Program. Gates are also being installed in Connecticut and New Jersey.

 

For more information on New Hampshire’s bats, visit www.wildnh.com/nongame/bats-nh.html.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service offers more information on the impact of White Nose Syndrome at whitenosesyndrome.org.

 

New Hampshire’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program works with state and private partners to protect more than 400 wildlife species in New Hampshire. The program relies on federal State Wildlife Grants, matched by private donations, Moose License Plate dollars, and a grant from the State of New Hampshire.  Learn more at www.wildnh.com/nongame.

 


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