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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Go Batty for the Game Commission

The state game commission is looking for help in collecting information about bats.

Commission biologists say the monitoring is especially important because of mortality rates in bat populations in the eastern United States being caused by white-nose syndrome.

Wildlife biologist Nate Zalik says people can help them more fully gauge the impact of white-nose syndrome by hosting a bat count this summer. He says it would be a good project for scout groups, 4-H clubs and local environmental organizations, as well as individual homeowners.

“We are especially urging people who have previously conducted a bat count for the Game Commission to participate again this year. Sites monitored for many years are valuable in assessing bat population trends. However, we also are interested in receiving reports from new surveyors and sites, as identifying the location and size of colonies of WNS survivors is important," Zalik said.

“The little brown bat and the big brown bat are the two species that most often use buildings as their summer roosts,” Zalik said. “Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples, roosting structures constructed specifically for bats, and even currently occupied structures can provide a summer home to female bats and their young.”

Zalik noted that the fieldwork isn’t difficult to do, and Pennsylvanians can play a huge role in helping the Game Commission get a better understanding of what is happening to bats this summer.

“We’re looking for some help, and we hope you’ll consider becoming part of the Appalachian Bat Count monitoring team,” Zalik said. “It’s a chance to make a difference for bats and to get involved in assessing the impact of WNS. Please consider lending a hand. Bats need you more than ever.”

For more information go to the game commission's website: Appalachian Bat Count.

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