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What We Do/Imperiled Species

What We Do

GateKeeper beam-break system emitter and detector heads installed on the gate at James cave, Edmonson County, KY from inside the cave.

Bat Conservation International builds productive professional relationships with federal, state and other entities by assisting in funding, planning and conducting habitat protection, enhancement and restoration to benefit bats and ecosystems.

We work closely with colleagues from a range of disciplines to improve bat-habitat management through research and education, and by continually assessing emerging threats and our current state of knowledge.

Examples of Success
Bat Conservation International has worked for decades to conserve critical bat habitats in North America. Some of our achievements include:

  • East Texas Roost Surveys – Bat Conservation International has collaborated with a variety of partners, including the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, private landowners, and more, to maintain the long-term monitoring of maternity colonies of two rare bat species: Rafinesque’s big-eared bat and southeastern myotis. The hardwood bottomlands that these species inhabit has been significantly reduced and altered in recent history. As such, maternity trees are often a limiting resource. This project has created one of the only long term data sets for these species in Texas. Data from this effort is being incorporated into a joint Conservation Strategy that will be completed and published in 2013.

  • Cave Microclimate and Habitat Research and Restoration Efforts – Our pioneering work, with federal, state and non-government partners, to monitor temperature and humidity in 21 caves and mines began in 1998. This project produced the most complete set of microclimate-monitoring data ever collected in bat hibernacula, information that continues to guide many conservation and restoration actions. Bat Conservation International’s collaborative efforts to study the microclimatic response to restoration of Saltpetre Cave in Carter County, Kentucky, following centuries of human disturbance has served as a model for cave-restoration projects. The cave was closed to human entry, bat-friendly gates were installed, and historical airflow was restored. Hibernating Indiana myotis populations in Saltpetre Cave have grown steadily from dozens when restoration began in 1998 to nearly 7,000 in 2007!

  • Promotion and Installation of New Technology to Monitor and Manage Bat Habitat – Bat Conservation International installed and tested the GateKeeper beam-break monitoring system at important hibernation sites for eastern rare bats. The system aims infrared beams across cave openings and counts bats that pass through the beams. This promising new technology allows biologists to continually and remotely monitor bat activity and may eventually provide improved population estimates – without disturbing the bats.



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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Unless otherwise noted, all images are copyright ©Merlin D. Tuttle and/or ©Bat Conservation International