Nongame Biologist Laura Beard and her crew began trapping bats in the Lander area this fall in an effort to determine where bats are overwintering. Most species of bats in Wyoming stay in the state over the winter, hibernating in caves, abandoned mines, and other structures that provide cold, humid, consistent conditions. However, biologists rarely find many bats during cave and mine surveys in the winter. Consequently, nongame biologists are putting transmitters on bats to try to follow them to their winter roosts to better understand what overwinter structures Wyoming’s bats are using.
The crew has also deployed bat detectors at several locations in the Southern Wind River Range. The recording equipment only records bats echolocation calls at night and does not record other frequencies like human voices. If you spend time in the backcountry you may see one of these recording devices housed in a green plastic ammo can with a microphone on a long aluminum pole.
With the recent detection of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome at Fort Laramie, locating, monitoring, and potentially protecting these wintering areas will be important to managing and conserving Wyoming’s bats.