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October 1, 2019 Comments Off on Bats at home in recycled poles Latest, Nature

Bats at home in recycled poles

State workers and others have placed special surrogate structures on a wildlife management area in northeast Arkansas to encourage the continued use of the area by Indiana bats, an endangered species native to the state.
The first known maternity roost in Arkansas was identified earlier this year on the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area. Researchers feared the tree where the roost was located would be at risk for falling during storms.
They also wanted to offer increased roosting opportunities for other Indiana bats to help in the recovery of the species.
New roosting structures were created with used utility pole, donated by Craighead Electric Cooperative. Craighead Electric also donated labor and the use of a special track auger to dig and place the pole. The poles were made more usable for the bats by scoring the sides and covering them in BrandenBark.
This artificial bark is used in zoos and theme parks. Three sheets of the material were donated to this project by The Nature Conservancy. The resulting structure should last much longer than the deteriorating tree where the bats have been roosting.
The maternity colony was located at Shirey Bay as a result of a separate project sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Arkansas Department of Transportation, Arkansas State University and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Female Indiana bats were captured in April at a cave they used for hibernation in Newton County and one was followed as she migrated eastward across the Ozarks and finally settled at Shirey.
The Indiana bat was first listed as endangered in 1967 under the precursor to the current Endangered Species Act. Researchers have discovered that protection of summer roosting areas was as critical to the species survival as winter hibernation areas. The species hibernates in caves and mines, but tends to spend summer months roosting under the loosened bark of many old and deteriorating trees.
<em>Sports on 09/24/2019</em>