Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 34 Number 2: 33-47 - April 1972

A publication of the National Speleological Society

The Status of Threatened Species of Cave-Dwelling Bats
Charles E. Mohr


The reduction of populations of insectivorous bats, reported as early as 1952, has recently reached alarming porportions. One major cave populations of Tadarida, the free-tailed bat, has dropped to 1% of its number of 10 years ago, while populations of 22 different species have declined in part or in all of their ranges. Mass mortality observations are reported. In the few cases studies, rabies was shown to be negligible. Insecticide poisoning has been proven in thorough laboratory analyses. Tadarida suffers extreme exposure to organochlorine pesticides during foraging flights and seasonal migrations. Distrubance by scientists engaged in banding and other research activities and by spelunkers inadvertently is identified as a factor in the decline. Conservation proposals include reduction of banding, severe limitation on visitation to bat caves by scientists and spelunkers, and enactment of legislation for bat protection.

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