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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

2017 Indiana bat population estimates

Region 3, September 29, 2017

Every other winter for the past several decades, bat biologists across 18 eastern states have quietly entered hundreds of caves and mines in search for the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). Biennial surveys for this wide-ranging species have been routinely conducted since the early 1980s and have created one of the longest-running, comprehensive and most accurate population datasets available for any North American bat species. The Service’s Indiana Ecological Services Field Office in Bloomington, Indiana has the recovery lead for the Indiana bat and helps to coordinate the biennial winter surveys and collate the resulting population data. The 2017 population estimates recently were finalized and many now be accessed via the Midwest Region’s Indiana bat website. Unfortunately, the Indiana bat’s range-wide population has declined by approximately 20 percent over the past 10 years and is widely attributed to the spread of the novel fungal pathogen that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. In light of some of the much more precipitous post-WNS population declines observed in some other eastern bat species, the Indiana bat’s situation seems a bit brighter.



Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov