Blacksburg, Va. - With poetic flourish Virginia Governor Mark Warner signed House Bill 2579 yesterday designating the Virginia Big-Eared bat, a cave bat listed by the state and the federal government as endangered, as the official state bat. To protect this and other species of bats, Virginia Tech Extension wildlife specialist Jim Parkhurst has written a guide that can help citizens deal with bats that have strayed from natural habitats into their homes.
In his new publication, which will soon be posted to Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources website (http://www.cnr.vt.edu/extension/fiw/wildlife/enhance/enhance.htm), Parkhurst encourages readers to put up bat houses to help monitor bat populations. He hopes his publication will increase bat houses in Virginia and strengthen a national monitoring effort that is being coordinated by Bat Conservation International (http://www.batcon.org/).
While the Virginia Big-Eared bat is not a species that typically would use bat houses, many other bats would. "Virginia's bat bill has increased awareness locally that bats in general need some conservation help," says Parkhurst.
Parkhurst, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife sciences at Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and the Virginia wildlife Extension specialist, may be reached at 540-231-9283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.