'Explorers for Bats' is a 13-minute film by Dave McGowan of Ravenswood Media, who was awarded a small white-nose syndrome grant administered by Wildlife Management Institute on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The film asks climbers to report bat sightings and includes locations for staff of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and nearby states.
How does information about bat sightings help us?
We are still learning about bats and where they hang out, especially in some places in the West. Learning where bats roost, forage, and hibernate will help us address white-nose syndrome.
If I report a bat sighting, will the bats be disturbed?
We always try to find the right balance between minimizing our disturbance of bats with collecting data to try to protect them. When climbers tell us where they see bats on big walls, we can learn from that to minimize future potential disturbances and the spread of the deadly WNS.
Why are climbers such valuable sources of information?
Climbers often reach places that scientists don’t commonly go, and they’re keenly observant of their surroundings while climbing. When climbers share where they’ve seen bats, scientists can visit that location and study the bats that live there. Climbers’ observations help us learn about and understand bats.
If climbers report bat sightings, will the landowner close access to the route?
Closing a climbing route is very unlikely. There are a few situations when that might be temporarily necessary. For example, if a maternity roost of an endangered species is discovered then a temporary seasonal closure may be necessary. This situation is similar to seasonal closures of certain climbing routes to protect nesting raptors. Local land managers make closure decisions.