Open Spaces : bats

Dogs to Aid Service with Bonneted Bat Research in Florida

by Ken Warren, USFWS

Tracking bats is going to the dogs. Literally.

If all goes according to plan this winter, a team of trained dogs and a handler from Auburn University will come to down south to help us find Florida bonneted bats, an elusive candidate species whose natural history is not fully understood.

bonneted-batThe elusive Flordia bonneted bat. (Photo: Kathleen Smith/Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Normally, the Service tracks bats and other animals using radio telemetry, but we need to use dogs in this case. Radio telemetry was tried before with captive bonneted bats, but they didn’t tolerate attached radio transmitters very well.

So, Service biologists Paula Halupa and Marilyn Knight of the South Florida Ecological Services Office have come up with a more innovative approach: Trained dogs

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Bats are Pollinators, Too!

By Rachel Penrod, USFWS

It's National Pollinator Week!

Did you know bats are pollinators too?

Our Wildlife Without Borders grantee, Rodrigo Medellin does.

When Rodrigo started doing bat conservation in Mexico in 1990, he knew it would be an uphill battle to save Mexico's more than 30 endangered bat species. People tend to see bats as flying rodents -- not as the animals who give them mosquito-free evenings, fruits, and flowers. So Rodrigo decided he wouldn't just study bats, he would teach people to love bats as much as he did.

To combat bats' image problem, Rodrigo put together a team of scientists and educators to help people understand how important they are to their communities -- from eating up all the nasty biting insects, to pollinating and spreading out seeds in all of the forests and fields.

bat-studyRodrigo Medellin, Wildlife Without Borders grantee, studies bats at Pinacate. (Photo: Program for the Conservation of Mexican Bats)

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Looking Back: Elizabeth "Betty" Losey

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a new series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

In 1947, Elizabeth “Betty” Losey – fresh from the University of Michigan with a master of science degree in wildlife management and conservation – said she couldn’t get a job with the Michigan State Game Division because no one wanted a woman out in the field overnight. 

Fortunately, a fellow Michigan graduate offered her a job. 

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White-nose Syndrome in Bats: A Truly Scary Halloween Story

They’re everywhere this time of year: pumpkins carved with crooked smiles, illuminating the evening from seemingly every porch or window on your street.

While the jack-o-lantern is probably the enduring symbol of the Halloween, a close second may be the black silhouette of a flying bat.


Don’t believe me? Go ahead, do a quick Google search of images using the word “Halloween.”  I’ll wait. 

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Last updated: June 21, 2012