Critical habitat designation not warranted for bat species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to designate critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) under the Endangered Species Act, according to an agency press release. The agency affirmed that this decision would not affect the species’ threatened status, because habitat is not a limiting factor in the species’ survival. The primary threat to population numbers is white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that compromises the immune system of afflicted individuals. Moreover, designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat would require USFWS to identify bat hibernacula, or areas of shelter, which the agency believes could increase disturbances and vandalism that would adversely impact the species.

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