The Zoo is working with Cleveland Metroparks biologists to monitor bat populations in Cleveland Metroparks. You may see a special research vehicle driving slowly through the parkways using a "bat detector" (a special sound monitoring device) to detect and record bat sounds. Use of this special acoustic monitoring device (called an AnaBat) that is specific to bat sounds, allows researchers to identify and monitor bat populations without directly capturing or handling bats.
In the spring of 2011, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources — Division of Wildlife reported the first bats positive for White Nose Syndrome in Ohio in the Wayne National Forest. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is currently gathering information on bat populations to determine the best action to protect species being affected by this serious disease (which is harmless to humans, but fatal to bats). This may mean adding several new bat species to the Endangered Species List. The USFWS has developed a standard protocol, using AnaBat equipment and transects, to collect important data and enable long term monitoring of bat populations.
The bat monitoring project in Cleveland Metroparks supports the USFWS bat monitoring protocol both nationally and within Ohio, and will help to document bat population trends as well as rare and endangered bats species in the region.