Children’s story about bats


This video is called Fun Facts About Bats.

From the site of NASA in the USA, where the story continues:

THE STORY OF Echo the Bat

In the upper elevations of Arizona, there was a forest of tall Ponderosa pine trees. The forest was covered with snow and the evenings were quiet as animals slept through the cold winter nights. When spring arrived, the snow melted and a colony of female bats made their home in a hollow pine tree to raise their young.

Echo and his mom hang upside down safe in their tree. Echo is under his mom’s wings. There is a crescent moon outside.

Unlike birds who hatch from eggs, bats are mammals. The mother bats will give birth to their young and feed them mother’s milk. Because their pups are too young to fly and catch their food, Mother bats care for their pups during the first month.

As the warm days of spring led to summer, a baby bat was born. He had a tiny, furry body with awkward wings. His mother held him close to her and wrapped him in her wings. All day long, she could hear his chirping cry echo through the hollow tree. From that day on, his mother called him “Echo.”

Bats and Tour de France cycling in Dutch Utrecht


This Dutch video is about counting bats in Utrecht city in the Netherlands, from May to August 2015.

Utrecht is not just in the news because of bats these days.

Tomorrow, the Tour de France cycling race will start in Utrecht; with a time trial for all 198 participants.

This video shows where in Utrecht the cyclists will cycle tomorrow.

Bat colony in city park tree, video


This 26 June 2015 video was recorded by Niels de Zwarte early in the morning in a city park in Leiden, the Netherlands.

It shows a colony of common noctule bats, in a hole in a tree.

Theatened Florida bats, new research


This video from the USA says about itself:

13 February 2014

Rehabilitating a Florida Bonneted Bat and getting it to temporarily adjust to new food. Apparently, rehab is boring… Florida Bonneted bats are a federally endangered species that only exist in Southern Florida and known population estmates only in the hundreds. Personnel in the video are rabies vaccinated. Never attempt to handle a bat or other wildlife. Video shot by Dustin Smith.

From Associated Press:

Singing bats; scientists lift veil on endangered FL species

By JENNY STALETOVICH, Miami Herald | June 20, 2015 | Updated: June 20, 2015 12:19am

MIAMI (AP) — The mysterious Florida bonneted bat, a creature so elusive that biologists know of only one roost in the wild, is actually a chatterbox, far easier to hear than see.

And for that information we can thank citizen scientists. Over the past year, they recorded thousands of calls, erected bat boxes and scoured the county to paint a new picture of the under-appreciated bats and lift the veil on one of the state’s most critically endangered species.

Props also go to chance, for putting the bats within earshot of a cutting-edge bat researcher having a glass of wine in her backyard.

“Who would have thought?” said volunteer Alfonso Perez, an attorney helping create a nonprofit to support more research. “If we just sit back and smell the roses, there’s a lot of things going on.”

All the attention has generated some star treatment for the bats: their own Facebook page, parties and a corporate sponsor. Much of that can be credited to biologist Kirsten Bohn, an expert in bat songs, who began organizing outings — part party and part expedition — to collect data on the enigmatic bat, which has dwindled to a South Florida population numbering in the hundreds.

With their iPads and smart phones programmed to pick up high-frequency chirps, volunteers trained by Bohn located the first roost ever documented in Southeast Florida near the Gables Granada Golf Course in September. Her team also recorded more than 20,000 calls, providing a trove of new data that shows the pug-nosed bats feed and sing like no other bat in the United States, in a range much larger than previously suspected.

Earlier this month, Zoo Miami wildlife veterinarian Frank Ridgely released the first bat raised from infancy. If all goes well, a tracker attached to the bat could let Ridgely observe its behavior in the wild.

All this new research could ultimately help federal wildlife managers now considering conservation plans for the bat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which added the bat to the endangered species list in 2013 — the first bat in 25 years — is expected to propose a critical habitat by the end of the year and ask for input from the public and experts.

Habitat protocols could help avoid potential problems like the scene now playing out at the Granada course, where Coral Gables launched extensive restoration work last month that includes trimming trees and removing grass without contacting federal officials. The city’s chief of landscaping, Brook Dannemiller, said the project manager checked with state officials, who signed off on the project, leading the city to believe the work would cause no harm.

But Bohn, who alerted federal agents, worries that bats with pups could roost in the trees. Stripping the grass could also affect the bugs they eat. On Friday, Service spokesman Ken Warren said the agency is looking into the matter.

If the bats are to survive, Ridgely said more aggressive steps must be taken to protect them, including surveying parks throughout the county that could take the place of lost habitat.

“The forest is never coming back in most of Miami-Dade County,” he said.

Conservation of bats has become more urgent in recent years with the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fatal fungus, and a rise in wind turbines. Up to two million bats die each year, threatening a critical link in America’s food production. Some bats pollinate plants — imagine a world without mangoes, avocados and guava. Others, including the bonneted bat, consume massive amounts of insects that farmers, and mosquito control districts, would otherwise battle.

Florida’s bonneted bats, which are not known to contract White Nose and risk little injury from turbines, face bigger risks from pesticides and habitat loss. Because they are large and fly high, the bats need plenty of room to maneuver. Their perilously low numbers could indicate just how little open space remains in South Florida.

“Bonneted bats are like a bullet or a jet airplane,” Ridgely said. “They are built for speed and go in a straight line.”

That behavior also makes them hard to study. Try spotting a bullet 30 to 40 feet high in the air. In the dark.

Bohn knew little about Florida’s bonneted bats, officially Eumops floridanus, when she arrived in Florida after studying in Texas and traveling largely in South America to record free-tailed bats for her research on communication. In 2014, she helped author a pioneering study that used mathematical equations to first document bat singing.

In the study, scientists used the calls of several species, including free-tailed bats, Carolina chickadees, orangutans and pilot whales. For a human sample, they recorded a reading of Hamlet. It turns out the clicks and chirps that can sound like change jingling in your pocket are more like a chorus of songbirds.

Bats, the study found, don’t just chirp to get their bearings or find food, they also sing to flirt, fend off other males and call to their young. They sing from their nests and they sing when they fly. Like humans, they may have a language.

To hear most bats, calls need to be amplified using a microphone. But the bigger, lower frequency bonneted bat can usually be heard by most people, though not all. “Too many Mötley Crüe concerts,” said Ridgely, who can’t hear the calls without a microphone.

To study the bonneted bats, Bohn, who recently left Florida International University for Johns Hopkins University, first erected recorders on the Granada golf course. Amazed at the volume of calls, she began installing song meters around the county in large open areas where bats might forage — at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the Deering Estate and along the Ludlam Trail. The bats historically lived in pine rockland, where the sparse pine canopy let them cruise unimpeded. But with most rockland now gone — less than 2 percent of the historic range outside Everglades National Park remains — the bats adapted to become urban bats foraging in whatever open space they could find, like the parking lot around Zoo Miami.

Among Florida researchers, the Granada Golf Course was a well-known feeding ground. For Bohn, a move to the neighborhood in 2012 was serendipitous.

Within weeks, Bohn heard their songs, began recording them and recruited grad student Giselle Hosein. When neighbors read about their work in the Miami Herald, they contacted Bohn, who formed the Bat Squad to help collect data. At their first bat night at the golf course, Bacardi — the brand’s logo includes a bat — provided free rum as hundreds wandered around the darkened course or sat in lawn chairs gazing into the night sky.

“This is so up my alley,” said Ken Willis, who attended another bat night in May. “We know so little about them and they’re here. The bats. The foxes. They were here before us and they’re here amongst us.”

In the past year, Bohn and volunteer grad students analyzed about 25,000 calls and logged the comings and goings of bats from the roost — first reported in the 1980s but not confirmed until Bohn and Ridgely studied it — in the eaves of a house a block away on Alhambra Circle.

The data helped paint a new picture of the urban bats. Bohn found the bats call at a much lower frequency and over bigger distances than Brazilian free-tailed bats, another species plentiful in South Florida. That discovery alone, Bohn wrote in a memo to federal officials, could make a critical difference in how bats are surveyed, because it makes them far easier to identify if microphones are set at the right frequency and correctly placed.

“Basically using acoustic monitoring is the best way to go,” Bohn said. “You can have a Eumops flying by and I’ll pick that bugger up.”

Bohn picked up their calls “all over (southern) Miami-Dade County, but in very low numbers,” she said, suggesting the long-lived bats travel farther to forage than previously suspected.

Bohn also found the bats roosting and feeding in Coral Gables were sensitive to temperature, emerging from their roosts only on warm nights. Surveying during colder months, she said, could give inaccurate information.

Without funding, Bohn was unable to complete more thorough research. “I could write a 20-page paper, but I’m doing this on a volunteer basis,” she said.

In an email from Honduras Saturday, she was optimistic that volunteers would carry on, organizing bat watches and installing boxes to provide more data so she could continue her research.

So far, Bohn’s acoustic findings could help define hotspots like the Granada Golf Course, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Paula Halupa. But Halupa said findings on roosting patterns would need more research.

“If we can focus on areas where we know they’re at and the surrounding areas, we can minimize the risks to the species,” she said. “So it’s all good stuff.”

Halupa said she was not surprised by the extent of the bat’s range: “A lot of times people don’t find bats because they don’t take the time to look. It’s not easy work.”

The intense public interest came as a pleasant surprise.

“It’s awesome that people in their own backyards … can see this and have enough interest to collect data,” she said. “Our agencies are too small and too overwhelmed with day-to-day crises and we need to rely more on citizen scientists.”

 

 

 

Fossil bat discovery in New Zealand


This video says about itself:

27 June 2012

On Little Barrier Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf you can get a small glimpse of how New Zealand would have looked before humans arrived around 1000 years ago. Short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) are a threatened species of bat found only in NZ that are uniquely adapted for crawling on the ground… which makes them ideal pollinators for flowers that are arranged in large clusters.

From Business Insider Australia:

Scientists have discovered a giant dinosaur bat that walked on four legs

Chris Pash

17 June 2015

Fossils of a bat species which walked on four limbs and was three times larger than today’s average bat have been discovered in New Zealand.

The remains were found near Central Otago in sediment left over from a prehistoric body of water known as Lake Manuherikia which was part of warmer subtropical rainforest during the early Miocene era between 16 million and 19 million years ago

The species, Mystacina miocenalis, described in the journal PLOS ONE, is related to another bat, Mystacina tuberculata, which still lives in New Zealand’s old growth forests.

“Our discovery shows for the first time that Mystacina bats have been present in New Zealand for upwards of 16 million years, residing in habitats with very similar plant life and food sources,” says lead author and vertebrate palaeontologist, Suzanne Hand from the University of New South Wales.

New Zealand’s only native terrestrial mammals are three species of bat, including two belonging to the Mystacina genus – one of which was last sighted in the 1960s.

They are known as burrowing bats because they forage on the ground under leaf-litter and snow, as well as in the air, scuttling on their wrists and backward-facing feet, while keeping their wings tightly furled.

“This helps us understand the capacity of bats to establish populations on islands and the climatic conditions required for this to happen,” says Associate Professor Hand.

Bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers that keep forests healthy. Understanding the connectivity between the bat faunas of different landmasses is important for evaluating biosecurity threats and conservation priorities for fragile island ecosystems.”

The new species has similar teeth to its contemporary relative, suggesting a broad diet that included nectar, pollen and fruit, as well as insects and spiders.

At an estimated 40 grams, the fossil bat is roughly three times heavier than its living cousin.

English greater horseshoe bats threatened


This video from Britain says about itself:

24 February 2011

A short piece about Greater Horseshoe Bats that appeared on The One Show (23/02/2011).

Land near the roost is now being grazed organically by Ruby Red Cattle, hopefully leading to an increased population of dung beetles an important food source for some species of bat.

From Wildlife Extra:

Devon bats future to be decided at High Court

If the High Court allows the building of 230 houses the future of a population of one of northern Europe’s most threatened bats, the greater horseshoe bat, will be in jeopardy, says the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The Trust is bringing the Judicial Review against a planning decision made by Teignbridge District Council to grant permission for up to 230 houses to be built on land which lies just 170 metres from an internationally important site where female greater horseshoe bats congregate to give birth and raise their young. Devon Wildlife Trust has taken this unusual step in the court because the Rocklands development on the edge of Chudleigh, in South Devon, will pose a serious threat to the future of these rare bats.

Chudleigh’s population of greater horseshoe bats is one of the largest left in the UK but overall the species is in serious decline. The Devon bats use a site close to the Chudleigh town centre as a place to hibernate in winter and as a summer maternity roost in which to raise their young. The caves have protection from disturbance and development, and form part of the South Hams Special Area of Conservation. However, this same protection does not extend to the surrounding green fields and hedgerows which act as vital feeding grounds and flightpaths for the bats. It is the decision of Teignbridge District Council to permit a development of 230 houses in this bat-friendly landscape that Devon Wildlife Trust is taking court action to try to overturn.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive Harry Barton said:

‘These bats are some of the rarest UK mammals and Devon’s rural landscapes offer one of the last places which they have left. The importance of the decision by the High Court on Friday cannot be overstated. We believe that the needs of the species haven’t been properly taken into consideration in the decision to give the go ahead for 230 houses to be built so close by.’

‘We recognise that there is an acute housing shortage in the country. However, this case is about ensuring we have the right scale of development in the right place. Chudleigh has grown by 67 percent since 1950 and is scheduled to expand by a further 435 homes. During the same period the extent of hedgerows, which the bats use to navigate to their favourite foraging grounds, have halved. Cramming development into the remaining green fields around the town threatens the future of this special landscape and the bats and other wildlife which it supports.’

Greater horseshoe bats have suffered a catastrophic decline in the past 100 years. This large bat, with a wingspan of almost 40cm, was once common across southern England, but changes in land-use such as urban development and a move away from cattle grazed pastures and hay meadows has seen its numbers tumble by more than 90% since the early 1900s. This has left greater horseshoe bats clinging on in just a few areas.

Devon remains one place where the bats can still be seen and supports the largest population in the whole of northern Europe. With just 6,500 greater horseshoe bats left in the UK, a third of these survive in the county. Devon’s greater horseshoe bats are now restricted to just 11 key roosts. But now with the Chudleigh roost threatened by a housing development, Devon Wildlife Trust is concerned that the endangered species will be dealt a devastating blow.

Harry Barton, Chief Executive of Devon Wildlife Trust said:

‘We have opposed this housing development from its beginnings in 2013; we opposed it at its initial application stage and at a public hearing, all without success. We are very concerned that this may be the last chance we have to make a difference to the greater horseshoe bats of Chudleigh and this is why we had no option but to take Teignbridge District Council to the High Court.’

‘We are also holding authorities to account which have to adhere to the most important wildlife legislation in the Country, the European Habitat Regulations. This critical legislation is there to support our most endangered habitats and species populations and is currently under threat by moves to reduce its powers. We hope that our case will set a clear precedent that will help give endangered species populations across Europe a brighter future.’

The Judicial Review is being heard on Friday 12 June at the High Court in Bristol.

Indian villagers protect rare bats


This video says about itself:

Vampire bats nesting in a cave – Expedition Guyana – BBC

1 April 2010

Canopy expert Justine Evans goes in search of red howler monkeys but instead comes across a group of animals with a fearsome reputation – vampire bats nesting in a cave deep in the forest.

From PTI news agency in India:

Meghalaya hamlet dedicates forest for conservation of bats

Pynurkba: A tiny hamlet in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district has dedicated its forest for the conservation of an extremely rare Wroughton’s free-tailed bats, considered to be a critically endangered species.

The decision in this regard was taken last month when the village elders were informed of the presence of these extremely rare bats, who are facing loss of habitat due to human encroachment, in their forests.

“The village council decided to declare ‘sacred’ a small forest which is roughly about one square kilometer for the conservation of these bat species,” Pynurkba village secretary Phillip Rymbai told PTI.

The decision followed after a long negotiation with the elders of the village because the forest belongs to the community and not a protected area of the government.

Conservation agencies have lauded the decision of the village and urged the state government to recognize the importance of such an initiative and call for rewarding those at the village with conservation schemes and livelihood programmes.

Though there are three caves in Lakadong area that these bats have made them their homes, biologist and researcher D K B Mukhim said the bat clusters at Pynurkba is the largest with over 55 individual bats spotted lately.

First discovered in 1913, these bats are confined to the Western Ghats area of the country and in a remote part of Cambodia besides the colonies here which were discovered last year, according to the researcher.

The cave is located inside a forest here where another mystery shrouds two streams flows directly into the cave and then disappear.

Locals have it that the cave is haunted and hence left undisturbed for years but biologists believe it won’t be too long before the habitat is destroyed.

“Their haunted stories have in a way helped conservation of the cave and its bio-diversity including the Wroughton’s free-tailed bat species in their caves,” Mukhim said.

The Meghalaya Adventurers Association (MAA) which is organizing expeditions to identify new caves in the south-western parts of the Jaintia Hills is also pleading for conservation of these habitats which are also home to many other life forms.

MAA chairman Brian Dally said at least 1,540 caves have been recorded and surveys are being done every year to help discover more caves.

Cavers have surveyed and mapped over 411 km cave formations in the state, one of the longest in the Indian sub-continent.

First Published: Sunday, June 7, 2015 – 11:26