Georgia Ecological Services Field Offices
Southeast Region
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Bat Conservation in Georgia

Gray bats in Sittons Cave. Photo by Pete Pattavina.

Gray bats in Sittons Cave. Photo by Pete Pattavina.

 

Bats are a valuable and fascinating part of Georgia's natural heritage. They provide a beneficial service by foraging on flying insects, many of which are pests. Georgia is home to 16 species of bats. Some of these appear to be adaptive; they opportunistically roost and forage in altered habitats such as suburban and agricultural landscapes. A few species, however, have specific habitat needs, such as caves with suitable temperature and humidity, or large, hollow bottomland trees. Populations of these species are more vulnerable to habitat alterations and are of conservation concern.

There are currently three bat species that occur in Georgia that receive federal protections under the Endangered Species Act: the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and gray bat (Myotis grisescens), and the federally threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis).

For more information about our bat species of Georgia, please visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources webpage.

 

Surveying for Bats in Georgia

Projects within the potential ranges of the Indiana, northern long-eared, or gray bat may benefit from a bat survey. For questions regarding surveys for specific projects, please contact Laci Pattavina at our USFWS Georgia Ecological Services Athens Field Office at laci_pattavina@fws.gov.

  • The current Range-wide Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidance, which may also be used for northern long-eared bats, can be found here.
  • For additional survey requirements within the state of Georgia outlined by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Conservation Section, please visit this webpage.

Any surveys where bats will be captured must be conducted by individuals with current state and federal scientific collecting/endangered species permits.

  • For more information about federal scientific collection permits, visit the USFWS ePermits site. Note: The most common type of permit needed for endangered species surveys, including bat surveys, is a 3-200-55: Scientific Purposes, Enhancement of Propagation or Survival Permits (i.e., Recovery Permits) and Interstate Commerce Permit. From the ePermits homepage, select “Explore Permits”. From the search page, select “Recovery / Interstate Commerce” under “Endangered Species”. For additional information, contact the Region 4 USFWS Permit Office at permitsR4MB@fws.gov.
  • Apply for a Georgia state scientific collection permit here or contact the Special Permits Unit at 770-761-3044.
Laci Pattavina, bat biologist for Georgia Ecological Services, conducts an acoustic survey. Photo by Pete Pattavina.
Laci Pattavina, bat biologist for Georgia Ecological Services, conducts an acoustic survey. Photo by Pete Pattavina.

 

White-nose syndrome

Tri-colored bat with visible symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo by Pete Pattavina.

Tri-colored bat with visible symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo by Pete Pattavina.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a malady blamed for the death of millions of bats in the U.S. WNS has been called “the most precipitous wildlife decline in the past century in North America.” The disease is named for the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd, that grows on the muzzles and skin of affected bats. Discovered by a caver in eastern New York’s Schoharie County in February 2006 and documented by state biologists the following winter, WNS has rapidly spread continent wide. WNS was first found in Georgia in February 2013.

The USFWS leads the national response to WNS in the United States. For more information about the WNS Response Team, visit this webpage. For more information on the response to WNS in Georgia, go here.

 

Other Resources

WNS Decontamination Protocol for Bat Field Studies

Bat Conservation International

Georgia Bat Working Group

Resources & Info

Bat Survey Info

 

White-Nose Syndrome Info

 

General Info

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Last updated: May 26, 2021