Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
From 1984 to 1990, the known Oklahoma population increased from about 425 to 1,700, but it declined to about 1,000 by 1992. Some of the increase was due to the discovery of new populations, and the Service believes the decrease may represent movement to other caves. This bat is threatened primarily by its small population size, limited distribution, and intolerance of disturbance. Other threats include habitat loss and the possible effects of pesticides.
The Farmers Home Administration transferred land containing caves and foraging habitat to the Oklahoma Bat Caves National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, a management agreement with the Cherokee Nation for 120 acres brought the size of the refuge to 885 acres. The Nature Conservancy is purchasing an important maternity cave and hibernaculum, with surrounding foraging habitat. An important privately owned cave was fenced, and a gate on another cave was repaired. Hibernacula and other new sites were discovered, population monitoring continued, a telemetry study of habitat use began, and work on a recovery plan update proceeded.
Recovery needs include habitat protection, public education, searches for new populations, enforcement against take (including disturbance) of endangered bats, cave gating, placement of interpretive/warning signs, studies on effects of contaminants, and continued monitoring of the bats and their habitat.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation received $29,650 in FY 1991 and $23,650 in FY 1992, and in turn contracted with universities to conduct studies. Oklahoma State University searched for new maternity and hibernation caves and carried out studies of bat movement, habitat use, food habits, cave characteristics, and effects of surrounding land uses. Northeastern State University developed and implemented cave protection plans and landowner agreements for important caves on private land.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation: The Department has coordinated the above section 6 projects with Northeastern State University and Oklahoma State University.
The Nature Conservancy: This organization has granted the Fish and Wildlife Service an easement to manage important caves and foraging habitat it owns. The group is purchasing another important cave and will coordinate its management with the Service. The Conservancy also assists the Service in habitat acquisition and management.
Bat Conservation International: This group has provided information for revision of the recovery plan and will review the draft prior to its completion.
Plan approved 5/8/84.