|Brown bat photo: wikimedia.org|
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feigin, along with project partner MacKenzie Hall from New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDEP) and project interns from Rutgers University, streamed a bat banding LIVE on Facebook from a residential house in Flemington, New Jersey. The banding has reached over 200,000 online followers as of Thursday morning.
Watch the video from Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Facebook page.
This banding survey was part of a long standing maternity survey project conducted by CWF in partnership with NJDEP. These surveys allow us to gain important information about reproductive success, record weight, sex and age status of the bats, assess bats for signs of white-nose syndrome, and band bats for future observation.
“Though going ‘live’ can be a bit nerve-wracking, I really felt this once in a lifetime opportunity could make a difference. Not only do we want to give our viewers first-hand experience of our field biologists, we also want to give them the ability to see wildlife in a way they have never seen before,” said Feigin. “This technology gives us the ability to raise awareness for New Jersey’s rare wildlife, directly interacting with thousands of followers as we conduct important wildlife surveys to protect these imperiled species.”
During the banding survey and live-streaming, the scientists caught and banded over 35 big brown bats. Many New Jersey bat species have plummeted over the past decade due to the ravages of white-nose syndrome, an introduced fungus that interrupts bats’ winter hibernation.
In addition to banding bats, CWF coordinates acoustic bat monitoring, summer bat counts, mist netting and radio telemetry surveys, and white-nose syndrome research – all aimed at ensuring bats are given the best chance at survival.
This work is funded in part by Cooper Pest Solutions, EarthColor, and the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence Grants Program.
“The main goal of our bat projects is to protect the bats we have in New Jersey, protect their habitats, learn more about their life cycles, and educate the public on the benefits of bats and how amazing and beneficial they truly are,” said Feigin. “By streaming live, I think we were able to shed new light on bats and allow the public to gain a better understanding for these special mammals.”
Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) is the state's leading organization working to protect rare and imperiled wildlife. CWF utilizes field science, wildlife management, habitat restoration, education, and public engagement to help vulnerable wildlife species recover.