The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a final rule removing the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife due to recovery. According to FWS, threats to the bat have been eliminated or reduced and populations are healthy and stable such that the species is no longer endangered or threatened with endangerment under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is the first bat species delisted from the ESA due to recovery.
When the bat was first listed in 1988, fewer than 1,000 bats at only 14 known roosts were believed to exist. There are now an estimated 200,000 bats at 75 roosts in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The bat was removed from Mexico’s endangered species list in 2015.
In the United States, most lesser long-nosed bat roosts and forage areas are managed by federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca. All have integrated management of lesser long-nosed bat forage plants into their land use and resource management plans. Federal agencies are also aiding in deterring human disturbance of roost site caves and abandoned mines through site closures, law enforcement, and installation of bat gates that eliminate human access. FWS believes that the bat’s flexible and adaptive behaviors will allow it to remain viable under changing climatic conditions.
FWS has prepared a Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan (PDMP) committing to monitoring the lesser long-nosed bats’ continued roost occupancy, as well as monitoring and assessing the bats’ forage availability. The PDMP will alert FWS to any drops in population numbers or future threats to the bats’ viability