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(Posted 6-22-04)
Contact: Dan Nonte, 336-334-5371

Scientists to Study Bats in Uwharrie National Forest Aug. 1-5

GREENSBORO – About 50 biologists will converge on the Uwharrie National Forest Aug. 1-5 for the 2004 Bat Blitz, netting bats and eavesdropping on the calls they use to navigate and locate their insect prey.

Despite being the second largest group of mammals and the only group that can fly, bats are difficult to study because they are nocturnal and the sounds they make for echolocation can not be heard by humans.

About 10 species of bats are found in the North Carolina’s Piedmont, and they eat only insects, sometimes as many as 1,000 an hour. Scientists consider them good indicators of the health of the environment.

Last year, when the blitz was held in Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas, more than 200 bats in five species were captured, studied and released.

Scientists participating in the Bat Blitz will hold a media day Aug. 3 at the headquarters of the Pee Dee National Wildife Refuge, 5770 U.S. Hwy. 52 North, Wadesboro, to demonstrate their techniques and equipment.

The schedule for the media on Aug. 3 is:

• 4:00 p.m. – presentation about the 2004 Bat Blitz,
• 5:00 p.m. – dinner with bat biologists and
• 6:00 p.m. – research.

Members of the media will be assigned to a team and may observe and participate as the team sets up equipment and catches bats.

For more information or to register for the media day, contact Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rüppell, UNCG Department of Biology, at (336) 256-2590 or mckalcou@uncg.edu.

The Bat Blitz is sponsored by LandTrust of Central North Carolina, the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network, the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State Parks, the North Carolina Zoo, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the US Fish and Wildlife Service – Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service – Uwharrie National Forest.

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