WRA Wildlife Expert Rob Schell Receives Permit to Conduct Bat Mist-netting and Occupied Roost Surveys

example of mist netting

example of mist netting

WRA Senior Wildlife Biologist Rob Schell received a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to perform mist netting surveys and monitoring surveys of occupied roosts for California’s most misunderstood flying nocturnal mammals. Rob began working with bats in 2004 and has apprenticed throughout the western states under some of the most expert names in the field of chiropterology.

Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorinus townsendii). Photo credit: Rob Schell

Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorinus townsendii). Photo credit: Rob Schell

Advances in technology have rapidly elevated the understanding of bat distribution and ecology in the past 15 years, which has in-turn fueled the increasing regulatory interest in these animals.  Bats represent 25% of all mammal species, and provide some of the most critical ecological services to humans. Not only are bats insatiable predators of mosquitoes and agricultural pests, but we also rely on bats to pollinate the agave flowers that give us tequila!

Technology is not without limitations, and is the case with bats, there is no electronic replacement for a knowledgeable field biologist—yet. The most sensitive bat species in California are also some of the most difficult to detect via acoustic monitoring. With this permit WRA will be able to study bat populations more closely, determining species composition of populations, roost phenology and fidelity, reproductive status and other population demographics, and to monitor for the impending advance of White-Nose Syndrome, which is responsible for widespread declines of bat populations in the eastern United States.

WRA will also be able to offer its clients with roost exclusion and construction monitoring/relocation services and is also at the forefront of regulatory and logistical integration of bat mitigation into its conservation banking and land management service sectors.