Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
This mammal continues to increase throughout its range. Although there are apparently few current threats, the use of forestry insecticides and crop pesticides in areas adjacent to riparian corridors where gray bats forage may reduce the prey base or kill bats that ingest contaminated insects. Some maternity and hibernating colonies are susceptible to human disturbance.
Gray bats have increased because of better protection measures such as gates, fences, and signs around caves; better cave gate designs to restrict human disturbance; and improved public education programs. In addition, biologists in Missouri have discovered three new caves with gray bat populations. As a member of the National Pesticide Consultation Team, the Fish and Wildlife Service contributed recommendations pursuant to a biological opinion that evaluated the effects of 31 pesticides on all listed species. The Service issued a few no-jeopardy biological opinions on probable impacts of some chemicals on the gray bat, identifying buffer zones or time restrictions on applying pesticides as reasonable and prudent measures to minimize incidental take.
While many sites are adequately protected, additional protection is needed in areas where human disturbance is a problem. Gray bats are reappearing in caves they used historically on an infrequent basis and labelled in the Recovery Plan as "low priority" sites. To assess the recovery of the species, such sites should be monitored regularly.
National Park Service: This Federal agency restricts human access to six gray bat maternity caves on its lands and monitors them for possible disturbance.
Missouri Department of Conservation: The Department recently purchased a gray bat maternity cave in Stone County, and is revising a plan for protected bat species in Department-owned caves. The Department has also developed site specific management plans for some caves on private property.
The Nature Conservancy: To protect habitat, the Conservancy has established six voluntary protection agreements with private landowners for gray bat maternity sites.
Plan approved 7/8/82.