To the Editor:
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking for more information concerning bat colonies around the state of Maine as biologists continue to research the impact of white-nose syndrome in Maine.
Certain species of bats have been hit hard by white-nose syndrome. This online survey tool will help us locate existing bat colonies and give us more insight into the health of Maine’s bat population. The Maine Bat Colony Identification Program is asking for people to report bat colonies by filling out an online form at www.maine.gov/ifw. Filling out the form is simple and quick, and the information goes directly to Maine’s biologists.
Maine is home to eight species of bats. There are two bat species on the state’s endangered list, the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat. The eastern small-footed bat is on the state’s threatened list. Little brown bats like to raise their young in barns and warm attic spaces during Maine’s summer.
In Maine, biologists have seen a drastic decline in the number of cave-dwelling bat species. Maine’s eight bat species are divided into cave-dwelling species and tree-dwelling species. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that is estimated to have killed over 6 million bats in the eastern United States, with the cave-dwelling species having been hit hardest by the disease.
In Maine, it is estimated that some bat species have declined by as much as 98 percent. Bats are an important part of Maine’s ecosystem, as they are a major predator of insects, including mosquitoes and agricultural insects.
IFW Wildlife Biologist