U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Endangered Status for the Northern Long-eared Bat; Listing Not Warranted for Eastern Small-footed Bat
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Service also determined that the eastern small-footed bat does not warrant listing.
The northern long-eared bat is found across much of the eastern and north central United States, and all Canadian provinces from the Atlantic Ocean west to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.
The Service’s proposal opens a 60-day public comment period on the proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat as endangered. Over the next 12 months, the Service will evaluate information provided during the comment period to make a final decision on listing the species. The proposal appeared in the October 2, 2013, Federal Register.
The primary threat to the northern long-eared bat is a disease, white-nose syndrome, which has killed an estimated 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. Populations of the northern long-eared bat in the Northeast have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease known to cause high mortality in bats that hibernate in caves. The fungus causing the disease thrives in low temperatures and high humidity – conditions commonly found in caves and mines where northern long-eared bats hibernate. While the eastern small-footed bat also hibernates in caves and mines, it has not shown the drastic decline at winter hibernacula compared with that experienced by the northern long-eared bat.