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Tracking the Elusive Long-Eared Bat
by Sam Houghton
While most folks settled into bed on a warm night in July, a team of wildlife biologists with headlamps and blue latex gloves sat around a table in the middle of the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge and waited.
“Bat!” one biologist, stationed about 200 yards away, exclaimed.
The rest of the team snapped on their headlamps, rose out of their camping chairs and marched through the tall grass of the forest to a large suspended net. A big brown bat nestled in the middle of the net. Work began.
US Fish and Wildlife hired the Biodiversity Research Institute team, a nonprofit out of Portland, Maine, to trap bats six nights this week in Mashpee to study and tag bat species in the national refuge.
While most of the bats caught and tagged were big brown bats, there was also an exciting confirmation this week: a juvenile Northern Long-Eared Bat, a threatened species, was trapped in the Mashpee woods on Tuesday night, July 12.
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