USFWS Proposes ESA Protection for Endangered Bat

As previous Quarterly articles have reported, white-nose syndrome (WNS) is having a devastating effect on US and Canadian populations of hibernating bats. Some formerly abundant species are now on the brink of becoming endangered. The first fallout of this can be seen in the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) proposal to give endangered species protection to the once-common northern long-eared bat. In proposing the listing, USFWS identified WNS as the “predominant threat” to northern long-eared bats, especially in the Northeast “where the species has declined by up to 99 percent from pre-[WNS] levels at many hibernation sites.” Moreover, the dangers posed by some forms of wind energy development, habitat destruction, climate change, and other activities “may now be important factors affecting this bat’s ability to persist while experiencing dramatic declines caused” by WNS. Unfortunately, some industry players reject any move that might require them to make even modest changes in their operations in order to ensure the survival of these important mammals. Some members of Congress and state natural resource departments are pressing USFWS to put business before bats and avoid listing the northern long-eared bat as endangered. A final decision from the agency is expected in October.

Read more articles about: