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Comment Period Reopens on Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing

Steven Thomas
US Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is again taking comments on whether to add the northern long-eared bat to the endangered species list.  Some groups are questioning estimates of the bat’s fragility. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says populations of the northern long-eared bat are dropping precipitously due to the deadly fungal disease white nose syndrome.  It’s wiped out millions of bats in the eastern U.S. and was found to have spread to Wisconsin earlier this year. 

But now several state and regional groups, including the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, are saying the bat is still surviving in sizable numbers.  They also say that since white nose hasn’t taken hold in all of the bat’s 38-state range, it’s too early for an endangered designation.

US Fish and Wildlife biologist Jill Utrup says the federal agency will be considering the new information.   

“There have been summer surveys that have been going on, particularly in Wisconsin and Minnesota. So they reported on some of those numbers, and not necessarily a huge change – but as far as the known distribution, it’s definitely more widely distributed than we previously had records for.”

The agency is looking for any feedback that people may have on the new data, though previous submitted comments are still being considered.

The deadline for the determination is April 2nd.    

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