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How bats relocate in response to tree loss

Identifying how groups of animals select where to live is important for understanding social dynamics and for management and conservation. In a recent Journal of Wildlife Management study, researchers examined the movement of a maternity colony of big brown bats as a response to naturally occurring tree loss.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 12:01 am EDT
"This is the first time that the movement of bats in response to a natural loss of roost trees has been documented. Our work suggests that general patterns for how bats respond to loss of roost trees may exist across bat species and forest types"

Identifying how groups of animals select where to live is important for understanding social dynamics and for management and conservation. In a recent Journal of Wildlife Management study, researchers examined the movement of a maternity colony of big brown bats as a response to naturally occurring tree loss.

The colony began moving to a new patch of forest approximately seven kilometers away when cumulative loss of trees, over three years, in the old patch reached 18%. Most bats roosted in the new patch by year four, when cumulative loss of roost trees reached 46%.

The authors noted that to maintain high densities of suitable roost trees for bats,
management plans must retain live and dead trees in multiple stages of growth and decay.

“This is the first time that the movement of bats in response to a natural loss of roost trees has been documented. Our work suggests that general patterns for how bats respond to loss of roost trees may exist across bat species and forest types,” said lead author Kristin Bondo, MSc, PhD, of the University of Regina, in Canada. 

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.21751

About Journal 

The Journal of Wildlife Management publishes manuscripts containing information from original research that contributes to basic wildlife science. Suitable topics include investigations into the biology and ecology of wildlife and their habitats that has direct or indirect implications for wildlife management and conservation. This includes basic information on wildlife habitat use, reproduction, genetics, demographics, viability, predator-prey relationships, space-use, movements, behavior, and physiology; but within the context of contemporary management and conservation issues such that the knowledge may ultimately be useful to wildlife practitioners. 

About Wiley

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