Batweek

Bat Conservation International Bats Magazine

Bats magazine logo
Preserving a Cave to Save the
Jamaican
Flower Bat
Cave purchase crucial to protect only known maternity roost of Critically Endangered bats
Bat Conservation International logo
Volume 41 • Issue 3
Issue 3 • 2022

Inside this Issue

Bats magazine logo
08
Photo: Dr. Jon Flanders

Features

08preserving a cave to save the jamaican flower bat

Cave purchase crucial to protect the only known maternity roost of Critically Endangered bat

14Data dogs

“Rascally” shelter dogs find their purpose in bat conservation

Departments

02Off the Bat

Bat Conservation International’s Executive Director Mike Daulton on protecting Endangered species

06Species Study

New bat species discovered in the remote “sky islands” of West Africa

24Bat Chat

Bat photographer Chien Lee shares what he loves about his work

25Bat Squad

Scientific illustrator Kristen Burroughs discusses her work
Notes iconRead past issues of Bats Magazine at batcon.org/batsmag

news & updates

Photo: Michael Schirmacher
04

03Bat Signals

Conservation news and updates
  • Florida bonneted bat threatened by water park proposal
  • White-nose Syndrome spreads
  • New virtual bat experiences
  • Celebrate Bat Week

18Field Notes

Research news from around the globe
  • Searching for Livingstone’s fruit bats
  • Bat scientists unite
  • Gardening for bats
  • Water loss affecting southwestern U.S. bats
Cover for Bat Conservation International
ON THE COVER: Critically Endangered Jamaican flower bats are only known to reproduce in one Jamaican cave, which is why BCI and partners joined forces to purchase the cave to help protect the species from extinction.
Image: Sherri and Brock Fenton
Off the Bat title typography
A few words of introduction from your friends at Bat Conservation International

Protecting Endangered Species

by Mike Daulton
R

ecently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to protect the tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) as an Endangered species. Bat Conservation International (BCI) fully supports using the full power of the Endangered Species Act to protect the tricolored bat.

Tricolored bats were once the most common bat east of the Rocky Mountains. In days past, you’d often see these bats in their fluttery flight patterns at dusk, darting around treetops and devouring mosquitoes, moths, and other insects. Today, 90% of this species has been decimated due to White-nose Syndrome (WNS), an invasive and frustrating fungus that causes bats to unnaturally rouse from hibernation, which, in turn, depletes necessary body fat for bats to survive cold temperatures.
Bat Conservation International logo

Bat Conservation International (BCI) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting bats and their essential habitats around the world. A copy of our current financial statement and registration filed by the organization may be obtained by contacting our office in Austin, Texas, below, or by visiting batcon.org.

Main Office

500 North Capital
of Texas Highway,
Building 1
Austin, TX 78746
512.327.9721

Washington D.C. Office

1012 14th Street,
NW Suite 905
Washington, D.C. 20005
512.327.9721

Managing Editor

Kristen Pope

Chief Editor

Javier Folgar

Contributors

Michelle Donahue / Proofreader

Publication Management GLC, part of SPM Group

Bats Magazine welcomes queries from writers. Send your article proposal in a brief outline form and a description of any photos, charts, or other graphics to the Editor at pubs@batcon.org.

Members: We welcome your feedback. Please send letters to the Editor to pubs@batcon.org. Changes of address may be sent to members@batcon.org or to BCI at our Austin, Texas, address above. Please allow four weeks for the change of address to take effect.

Board of Directors
Dr. Charles C. Chester,
Chair
Dr. Andrew Sansom,
Vice Chair
Don Kendall, Treasurer
Eileen Arbues, Secretary
Dr. Gerald Carter
Gary Dreyzin
Dr. Brock Fenton
Ann George
Timo Hixon
Maria Mathis
Dr. Shahroukh Mistry
Sandy Read
Dr. Nancy Simmons
Jenn Stephens
Roger Still
Science Advisory Committee
Dr. Luis Aguirre
Dr. Enrico Bernard
Dr. Sara Bumrungsri
Dr. Gerald Carter
Dr. Liliana Dávalos
Dr. Brock Fenton
Dr. Tigga Kingston
Dr. Gary McCracken
Dr. Stuart Parsons
Dr. Paul Racey
Dr. Danilo Russo
Dr. Nancy Simmons
Dr. Paul Webala
Senior Staff

Mike Daulton, Executive Director
Mylea Bayless, Chief of Strategic Partnerships
Karen “Kay” Carney, Chief Marketing Officer
Dr. Winifred Frick, Chief Scientist
Michael Nakamoto, Chief Operations Officer
Kevin Pierson, Chief of Conservation and Global Strategy

BCI updates and conservation news
Bat Signals title typography
endangered

Fight to Save the Florida Bonneted Bat Takes a Turn

The rarest bat in the United States threatened by water park proposal
The Federally Endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) lives only in South Florida, and its habitat is very limited. At night, after daytime zoo visitors go home, an area of land adjacent to Zoo Miami serves as the most important known foraging ground for the second largest population of the species. However, plans are in the works to turn this foraging area into a water park with a hotel and stores, eliminating the dark and low-profile areas preferred by the Florida bonneted bat.

In August, Bat Conservation International and conservation partners filed notice to the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not performing the proper regulatory reviews before the National Park Service released this piece of land to Miami-Dade County to lease out to the water park development.

A Florida bonneted bat sits on a tree.
Photo: Micaela Jemsion
Florida bonneted bat sitting on a tree at night
globe iconFollow Bat Conservation International’s social media channels and website for updates at batcon.org

batsignals

WNS
Group of little brown myotis with white-nose syndrome
A close-up of the signature symptom of White-nose Syndrome on a cluster of little brown myotis in a mine.
Photo: Michael Schirmacher

White-nose Syndrome Spreads

Bat-killing disease now confirmed in 38 states
First discovered in New York caves during the winter of 2006–2007, White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a lethal bat disease that is rapidly spreading throughout North America. Caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, WNS affects hibernating bats by making them arouse more frequently, burning through winter fat reserves and leading to premature starvation and death. Infected bats develop a distinctive white fuzz on their muzzles and skin, giving the disease its name.
Resting little brown myotis with White-nose syndrome
A little brown myotis shows symptoms of White-nose Syndrome on its chin.

Photo: Michael Schirmacher

WNS has killed millions of bats, with several species including the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and the tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) experiencing declines greater than 90%. However, WNS does not affect all bat species equally and while some may be facing extinction due to WNS (e.g., northern long-eared bat), other hibernating bat species appear to be unaffected by the disease. Scientists are working to learn everything they can about WNS and the fungus that causes it.

WNS has now been confirmed in 38 states and eight Canadian provinces, and researchers have found evidence of the fungus in five additional states including, most recently, Idaho and Colorado.

Notes iconLearn more about WNS and see where it has been found: whitenosesyndrome.org/

batsignals

Student Scholar
Team with the bike men hired at the Omo
Bridge leading to the core of the reserve.

Apply to be a BCI
Student Scholar

Photo: Taiye Adeyanju

Seven people standing on a bridge over water that leads into lush, green trees

Photo: Taiye Adeyanju

Team with the bike men hired at the Omo Bridge leading to the core of the reserve.

Apply to be a BCI Student Scholar

Graduate students can apply for funding through Oct. 31

Student Scholar applications are open starting Oct. 1! If you’re a graduate student looking for funding support for a bat research project, submit your proposal by Oct. 31.
White book icon

Learn more and apply at batcon.org/student-scholars

Bat Signals title typography
Bat Week

Get Batty

Bat Week is Oct. 24–31

The last week of October is Bat Week. Celebrate these magnificent mammals and help raise awareness about bat conservation with an array of events and activities. Build a bat house, increase your bat knowledge, take an urban bat walk, make a recipe from the Celebrating Bats Cookbook, create a bat mural, and help bats in many other ways during Bat Week, which falls this year on Oct. 24–31.
Group of little brown myotis with white-nose syndrome

Planting agaves to celebrate Bat Week

Planting agaves to celebrate Bat Week

Photo: Dan Taylor Photo: Taiye Adeyanju
White book icon over a blue circle

Learn more and get involved at batweek.org

Species Study title
There are 1,400+ species of bats in the world. This is one of them.
illustration of a bat

Nimba Myotis

New bat species discovered in the remote “sky islands” of West Africa
by Lynn Davis
bat stats
Bat icon

Binomial

Myotis nimbaensis
Bats icon

Family

Vespertilionidae
Bat Globe icon

Colony size

Unknown
Measuring Tape icon

Size

52.4–55.2 mm
Spider icon

Diet

Insectivorous
Exclamation Point icon

Status

Expected to be classified by IUCN as Critically Endangered
Region

The Nimba Mountains, West Africa
map of Africa with a red dot in the west
Illustration: Fiona Reid
A

ccording to Dr. Winifred Frick, Bat Conservation International’s (BCI’s) Chief Scientist, using harp traps to survey bat species is somewhat like trick-or-treating: You never know what you’re going to get.

Once the delicate nylon threads of the traps are installed near bat roosts, scientists wait to see which bats are caught. Dr. Frick says scientists are often like children comparing their hauls of Halloween candy. As they gently move the bats in small cloth bags to a nearby processing station where the bats are weighed and measured, DNA samples are collected, and varying species are noted, you might hear scientists quietly noting “one of these” and “three of those” before the bats are released into the night sky.

Leaf iconFeature: Stony Hill Cave
Cave purchase crucial to protect only known maternity roost of Critically Endangered bats
by Kristen Pope

Preserving a Cave to Save the Jamaican Flower Bat

Preserving a Cave to Save the Jamaican Flower Bat
Left: Entrance to Stony Hill Cave | Right: Jamaican flower bat (Phyllonycteris aphylla)
Left Photo: Dr. Melquisedec Gamba-Rios
Right Photo: Sherri and Brock Fenton
O

n a Jamaican hill overlooking the ocean, new development is transforming the landscape. Gorgeous views and a COVID-era desire to get out of big cities like Kingston led to people snapping up countryside land and building homes. This area, in northeast Jamaica near the town of Port Antonio, is a very sought-after area for home building.

However, it is also the site of Stony Hill Cave, the only known maternity roost for the Critically Endangered Jamaican flower bat (Phyllonycteris aphylla).

Paw print iconFeature: Detection Dogs
“Rascally” shelter dogs find their purpose in bat conservation
By Lynn Davis

Data Dogs

Data Dogs
Ranger sniffs out bats as part of his work with Rogue Detection Teams. His human “bounder” is Grace Sanderson.
Photo: Rogue Detection Teams
D

usty deserved some positive reinforcement—approving words, tasty treats, and a scratch or two behind the ears. Blitz, too, has earned praise and recognition but prefers the reward of fetching a frisbee. These dogs—Dusty, an eight-year-old female Brittany, and Blitz, a five-year-old male red cattle dog—along with their human handler, Julia Nawrocki, are on a mission to collect meaningful data that, ultimately, may save migratory bats from fatal impacts with wind turbines.

Field notes Research news from around the globe
Livingstone’s fruit bat is Critically Endangered and lives in the Comoros Islands.

Trekking into the Comoros

Searching for Critically Endangered Livingstone’s fruit bats
by Shaena Montanari
Livingstone’s fruit bat is Critically Endangered and lives in the Comoros Islands.
Photo: Dr. Isabella Mand
EVEN THOUGH DR. ISABELLA MANDL MAY BE AFTER A BAT that has a wingspan longer than a small child is tall, it is no easy feat to catch—or even find—a Livingstone’s fruit bat.

Dr. Mandl, a postdoctoral fellow funded by Bat Conservation International (BCI) at the University of Vienna in Austria, spent two months earlier this year on Anjouan, one of the islands of the Comoros, located between Madagascar and the coast of eastern Africa. Dr. Mandl was in search of a Critically Endangered Livingstone’s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii), a large black bat that has a population of around 1,200.

fieldnotes

Bat Scientists Unite

Nearly 600 researchers gather in Texas after three-year hiatus
by Kristen Pope
group photo at the 50th North American Symposium for Bat Research
This year, the 50th North American Symposium for Bat Research was held in conjunction with the 19th International Bat Research Conference.
Photo: Dr. Melquisedec Gamba-Rios
Microscope Icon
Dr. Winifred Frick received the Thomas H. Kunz Recognition Award for exemplary contributions by an early or mid-career
bat scientist.
After a three-year pause due to COVID, nearly 600 bat researchers from around the globe gathered in Austin, Texas, in August for the 50th North American Symposium for Bat Research (NASBR), held in conjunction with the 19th International Bat Research Conference (IBRC).

“It was a fantastic meeting and really special for everybody to be back together after three years,” says Bat Conservation International’s (BCI’s) Chief Scientist Dr. Winifred Frick. “The bat science community is an inclusive and tight community. NASBR has always been an annual event where people can come together to share research and support students.”

During the event, Dr. Frick received the Thomas H. Kunz Recognition Award for exemplary contributions by an early or mid-career bat scientist. Dr. Frick studied under Kunz, who passed away in 2020. He was her postdoctoral mentor and a key figure in the bat world.

fieldnotes

Gardening for Bats

Transform an ordinary yard into a haven for bats
by Shaena Montanari
volunteers standing in a bat garden
BCI Conservation Research Program Manager Vanessa Mukendi (center) joins volunteers working to create a bat garden with Anacostia Watershed Society.
Photo: Jenna Burnett
Insect Icon
Luring nighttime pollinators like moths and other insects is a great way to attract bats to your garden.
Want to learn how to provide a tasty meal for bats in your backyard? A new guide from Bat Conservation International (BCI) will help you find the best setup that will make your home garden an ideal spot for local bats.

The “Guide to Gardening for Bats” provides helpful tips, ranging from the types of plants that attract the most nighttime pollinators to ideas on what to do with dead trees on your property.

Gardening tips

Erin Cord, BCI’s Community Engagement Manager, says this general guide is a way for people to learn how to make their yards friendlier for bats and wildlife. While there are more guides in development, such as ones that specify which types of plants are ideal for certain regions, Cord says that in general, light-colored blooms that attract nighttime pollinators are ideal for bats.

fieldnotes
A desert spring on the Pitchfork Ranch in southern New Mexico
A desert spring on the Pitchfork Ranch in southern New Mexico
Photo: Dan Taylor

Drying Up

Bats in southwestern U.S. face depleted water sources, habitat loss
by Simone Scully

Like all animals, bats depend on water to survive—especially in arid or desert regions. Because they drink while in flight, bats must have open water sources like lakes, ponds, and springs, and in arid regions, they need to be able to drink at least once a night. In addition, the plants that grow around these water sources, called riparian vegetation, are the richest foraging habitat for insectivorous bats and several species rely on the trees that grow around water spots for roosting sites.

In other words, water loss is one of the significant drivers behind bat habitat loss, especially in regions that are already dry.

fieldnotes
Images

Researchers Remotely Peek Into the World of Bats

New automated technology records bat movements in caves
In north-central Wyoming, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wanted to learn more about how caves were used by bats. They were working on developing a cave management plan to manage visitation while protecting bats and wildlife, and reducing human-wildlife conflict. To do this, they needed to find out when the bats were using the caves and when they were hibernating.

It wasn’t practical to send someone to sit outside each cave for weeks on end hoping to glimpse a bat. Instead, BLM and Bat Conservation International (BCI) partnered with Wildlife Imaging Systems (WIS), which created a system to automate the task and capture bat activity using cameras and infrared technology.

Bat Chat A Conversation with a noted expert
fruit bat hanging upside down
Lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) roosting, Bukit Sarang Conservation Area, Bintulu, Borneo, Malaysia
Photo: Chien C. Lee

Through the Lens

Bat photographer Chien Lee shares what he loves about his work
by Annika S. Hipple
W

ildlife photographer Chien Lee specializes in documenting the biological diversity of southeast Asia. Originally from California’s Bay Area, but based in northwest Borneo since 1996, he worked in environmental education and conservation before turning to photography full-time.

Bat Squad For the young conservartionist

Bat Artist

Scientific Illustrator Kristen Burroughs discusses her work
by Kristen Pope
illustration of a flying bat eating a plant
A

fter she graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), with a degree in marine science, Kristen Burroughs began working as a zookeeper. She worked in animal care and gave tours for several years, but she felt like she wanted to be more creative. So, she went back to school to earn a certificate in scientific illustration from CSUMB. As the final step in her program, she completed an internship with Bat Conservation International (BCI) during the summer of 2022.

illustration of a flying bat eating a plant
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