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Pennsylvania biologists ask residents to assist in WNS monitoring effort

From the Pennsylvania Game Commission
   
-- Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists and the White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) Maternity Colony Monitoring Task Group are seeking assistance from residents in a national monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer.  

“The true impact of WNS on bat populations cannot be determined using estimates from winter hibernacula alone,” said Lisa Williams, Game Commission wildlife biologist and WNS task group member.  “Now is the public’s chance assist us in our monitoring effort by hosting a bat count this summer.”

To obtain applications and information on how to participate, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “Appalachian Bat Count” icon in the center of the homepage.

“Pennsylvania’s two most common bat species, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, use buildings as their summer roosts,” Williams said. “Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples – and even currently-occupied structures – can provide a summer home to female bats and their young.

“Monitoring these ‘maternity colonies’ can give biologists a good idea of how bat populations in an area are doing from year to year.  With the occurrence of WNS in Pennsylvania this year, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever.”

Williams noted that the fieldwork isn’t difficult to do, and Pennsylvanians can play a huge role in helping the Game Commission get a better understanding of what is happening to bats this summer.

“We’re looking for some help, and we hope you’ll consider becoming part of the Appalachian Bat Count monitoring team,” Williams said. “It’s a chance to make a difference for bats, to help local bats and get involved in the fight against WNS. Please consider lending a hand. Bats need you more than ever.”

A multi-state State Wildlife Grant has been awarded and is being administered by the Game Commission to investigate and respond to WNS, and is part of the nationwide effort to collect data during summer months through maternity colony monitoring, wing assessments and acoustic sampling.

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