U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

Indiana bats hanging from ceiling of a mine

Iron County, MO   
E-mail: mingo@fws.gov
Phone Number: 573-222-3589
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Endangered Indiana bats find habitat in abandoned mines on the refuge.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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The gray bat and Indiana bat are two species found on the refuge. These two species garner much attention because of their recent drastic decline in numbers and the subsequent listing of the species on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

The Indiana bat has been on the Federal endangered species list since 1967. The dwindling population continues to cause concern and support its protection at the refuge. The reason for the decline has many different contributing factors, including the commercialization of roosting caves, wanton destruction of habitat by vandals, disturbances caused by increased numbers of spelunkers, bat banding programs, use of bats as laboratory experimental animals, and suspected insecticide poisonings.

Since its placement on the endangered species list in 1976, the gray bat has become of particular concern. It is believed that its population decline is mainly due to human disturbances. Such disturbances include: vandalism, excessive pesticide use, overall insect prey decline due to pollution, and cave commercialization. The decline in gray bat populations can also be attributed to natural catastrophes. Collapsing caves and flooding have been known to render many gray bats homeless.

Since 1976, efforts have been made to help the recovery of these nearly extinct animals. Some of the major recovery goals include: (1) preserving critical winter habitat by securing primary caves and mines and restricting entry; (2) initiating informational and educational programs; and, (3) monitoring population levels and habitat (to include an evaluation of pesticide effects).

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