While it won't win any cutest animal contests, the northern long-eared bat deserves the same chance as any critter to continue to exist. We urge anyone who shares that concern to use the official commenting process. And if such a listing does occur — we certainly support trying to save the bats and preserve them as a species — we hope wildlife officials will use common sense while balancing the protection that would be offered against the potentially devastating economic impacts that could result. [editorial, Rapid City Journal, hyperlinks mine.]In some caves in the Northeast, northern long-eared bat populations have declined by up to 99%.
A step toward preserving some Black Hills habitat has been taken.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations. The Service, states, federal agencies, tribes, conservation organizations and scientific institutions are working together on a national response team to address white-nose syndrome through disease monitoring and management, conservation and outreach. For areas of the country affected by white-nose syndrome, the measures provided in the interim 4(d) rule exempt “take” (a term under the ESA that includes harming, harassing or killing a listed species) resulting from certain activities. In parts of the country not affected by white-nose syndrome, the 4(d) rule recognizes that activities that result in incidental take of bats are not imperiling the species. These activities will be exempt from the Act’s prohibitions. Purposeful take, however, other than removal of bats from dwellings, is prohibited. [excerpt, press release, USFWS]GOP donors being subsidized by the federal government to log in the Black Hills are putting pressure on the state's congressional delegation to resist habitat protection for the black-backed woodpecker, too. The American Dipper has been all but extirpated from the Black Hills.
South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune recently introduced a bill to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from listing the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2011, the FWS reached a secret sue-and-settle agreement with two radical environmental groups to require listing determinations on more than 250 species across the United States, including the northern long-eared bat. On October 14, 2014, Thune sent a letter to the FWS with Rep. Kristi Noem encouraging the agency to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered and to refocus its attention on combating white-nose syndrome. [KCSR]
#USFWS now protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the #ESA: http://t.co/2QtF5sowBw pic.twitter.com/c0TlYdJjLG
— US Fish and Wildlife (@USFWSMtnPrairie) April 1, 2015