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Northern Long-Eared Bat and MS Forestry: Impacts of the Endangered Species Act

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Publication Number: P2935
View as PDF: P2935.pdf
Figure 1. Northern long-eared bat. Photo Courtesy of Al Hicks, USFWS.
Figure 1. Northern long-eared bat.
Photo courtesy of Al Hicks, USFWS.

Odds are the average person reading this publication is unfamiliar with the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septen- trionalis). Consequently, he or she will not be familiar with a recent ruling announced by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) identifying Endangered Species Act protections for the northern long-eared bat. The US-FWS listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on May 4, 2015, and established an interim 4(d) rule to help protect the species. The northern long-eared bat final 4(d) rule was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2016, and went into effect February 16, 2016 (Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2011-0024). This 4(d) rule identifies prohibitions intended to protect this species of bat during sensitive life stages in areas where bats are affected by white-nose syndrome. The range of the northern long-eared bat extends into portions of Mississippi, and this ruling will impact the practice of forestry.

Northern long-eared bat

The northern long-eared bat is one of only 15 species of bats known to live in Mississippi. Adults average around 3.5 inches in length including their tails and weigh between 0.2 and 0.3 ounce. They are light brown and have long ears compared to other species of the same genus. The species roosts in trees (primarily hardwood species) or artificial structures from spring through early fall, usually switching roosts every other day. Males and females with-out young tend to roost singly or in small groups. However, reproductive females and their young typically form relatively large maternity colonies.

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