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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

The Indiana bat - down for the count, but not out!

Region 3, December 13, 2019
A cluster of Indiana bats hibernating in an abandoned limestone mine at Sodalis Nature Preserve in Hannibal, Missouri.  One bat was awake in this shot taken during the biennial winter population survey on 2/20/2019.
A cluster of Indiana bats hibernating in an abandoned limestone mine at Sodalis Nature Preserve in Hannibal, Missouri. One bat was awake in this shot taken during the biennial winter population survey on 2/20/2019. - Photo Credit: n/a

The Indiana Ecological Services Field Office recently completed a five-year review for the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). We assessed population trends, recovery progress and ongoing and emerging threats. Although most populations have suffered recent declines, and the risk of extinction remains, we remain hopeful that conservation and recovery of the bat can proceed as we and our partners continue to apply both tried-and-true and novel approaches to combat white-nose syndrome and other ongoing and emerging threats.


The review is available on the Indiana bat’s profile page on the Service’s Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS).

Highlights:
• Since the last review (2009) the majority of populations have declined, and most recovery criteria (from the 2007 recovery plan) have not yet been met. Therefore, we did not recommend a change in the species' listing status at this time (i.e., it will remain "endangered").
• White-nose syndrome is considered the primary ongoing threat, but other threats by wind turbines, climate change, invasive species and light pollution need further consideration.
• Since the arrival of white-nose syndrome, there have been considerable shifts in the spatial distribution and abundance of occupied hibernacula, with the most dramatic declines in the number of occupied hibernacula the Northeast and Appalachia Recovery Units. Remaining Indiana bats have also become significantly more concentrated in some areas. For example, Barton Hill Mine in New York now contains 93 percent of the Northeast Recovery Unit’s remaining Indiana bat population.
• The review also includes a topical listing of Indiana bat-related literature published over the past decade, a synthesis of threats, and recommendations for future actions.

Contact Info: Andy King, 812-334-4261 x1216, Andrew_King@fws.gov