Thursday, November 15, 2007

KENTUCKY: Deaths of Federally Endangered Bats Under Investigation

State and federal wildlife authorities are investigating the deaths of more than 100 federally endangered Indiana bats at Carter Caves State Resort Park near Olive Hill.

Vandals entered a cave at the park and struck a hibernating colony of Indiana bats with rocks on two different occasions in late October. Some bats were crushed, while others died after being knocked into a stream. Authorities believe the first incident occurred between Oct. 21-24, while the second incident was reported Oct. 27 and may have occurred the previous night. The cave is not being identified to prevent further harm to the remaining bats or other vandalism.

Indiana bats first received protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1966. Until recently, their numbers have decreased steadily. The caves at Carter Caves State Resort Park harbor the largest hibernating population of Indiana bats in Kentucky.

Violations of the Endangered Species Act can result in a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and a year in prison.

Anyone with information about the bat deaths should contact Special Agent Bob Snow of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (502) 582-5989.