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Seasonal Use of Mine Shafts by Bats on the Buckeye Army National Guard Training Area
 

California Leaf-nosed Bat at the Army National Guard Training Area in Buckeye, Arizona (B. Taubert)Background:
Mines provide both winter and summer roosting areas for bats. During the winter, many abandoned mines contain areas with constant, above-freezing temperatures necessary for hibernation during the winter. During summer, underground mines may act as cold-sinks similar to caves, protecting bats from extreme summer temperatures while providing shelter from predators. Subsequently, closure of these mines without allowing for continued bat use could prove disastrous for certain species.

Location:
The Buckeye Army National Guard Training Area is located on the southwestern end of the White Tank Mountains near Buckeye, Arizona.

Approach:
A number of inventory techniques were used including: monitoring the entrances with infrared cameras, mist-netting (to confirm the species present), and surveys in which a climber descends into the shaft to observe the hibernation process.

Benefits:
Sampling bats using infra-red camera at a mine shaft on the Army National Guard Training Area in Buckeye, Arizona. (B. Taubert)Typical mine roosting bats of the area include the Townsend's Big-eared (Corynorhinus townsendii), Mexican Free-tailed (Tadarida brasiliensis), Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer) and the California Myotis (Myotis californicus). Mines in the area may also be winter roosts for the California Leaf-nosed (Macrotus californicus). It is important to know, prior to any mine closure or gating, the species composition and relative abundance of bats using available mine shafts. Closure of these mines without allowing for continued bat use could prove disastrous for certain species. It is essential that we obtain information regarding bat use in abandoned mines everywhere because there are alternatives to permanent mine closure. The purpose of this project is to determine the relative number and species composition of bats using the abandoned mines at the Army National Guard property in Buckeye, Arizona.

For more information contact:
Shawn Lowery, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000 .
Phone: (520) 742-1911 E-mail: slowery@gf.state.az.us

Michael Ingraldi, Ph.D., Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000 .
Phone: (928) 523-5625 E-mail: mingraldi@cybertrails.com


 
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