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Contact: Bruce Connery, 207-288-8726
Acadia National Park is again investigating the status of bats affected by White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). The disease (a fungus) first appeared in 2011 on Mount Desert Island and by 2012 the populations of at least two common species of bats found on Mount Desert Island and in the park had declined to levels estimated below 20% of the levels observed two years earlier.Unfortunately the population of at least one of those species of bat, the Northern Long-eared Bat (NLEB), has continued to decline and WNS is the suspected agent.
The current study is capturing (at least trying) bats affixing radio transmitters to track their movements and learn the bat's preferences for late summer roosts and foraging areas.One of the additional benefits is to learn where bats go to spend the winter, which requires following their movements during the day and early in the evening. The preferred method of tracking is using research and park staff equipped with receivers from roads and trails.However an alternate approach is to use receiver equipped aircraft that can locate marked bats that are difficult to locate in rocky and mountainous terrain.The park and researcher are using both methods of ground and aerial searches to find the marked bats, and are hoping to do so for the next 4 weeks.The aerial flights are conducted above minimum altitude levels established for aircraft over the park and for Mount Desert Island.For further information, contact the park biologist Bruce Connery at 288-8726.