Effort to understand more about bats in 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces

Effort to understand more about bats in 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces

The North American Bat Monitoring Program is an initiative being exercised in 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces. Main aim of the program is to better understand the ecological role played by bats and threats faced by them owing to factors like climate change, habitat loss and wind energy development.

In the program, acoustic surveys will be used to detect the high-pitches frequencies produced by the flying mammals when they navigate in the dark and catch prey. The program data will be stored and made available at the Fort Collins Science Center in Colorado.

According to researchers, the program has been started because of the disease called white-nose syndrome, which has killed a number of bats and the disease continues to spread. Susan Loeb, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service based in Clemson, South Carolina, said, "Most of our bats are very small, they fly at night, and they're very difficult to study. In the last 10, 20 years, we're getting better and better technology that allows us to learn about bats".

Loeb, head of the program, said that they are mainly relying on acoustic monitoring, which includes mobile monitoring sites and stationary sites. Along with it, researchers are also using other methods like making a count of hibernating bats in winter and maternity colony counts in summers. It is important to know about bats as they form to be an important part of forest health.

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