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Nature Conservancy Confirms Bat Visitors at Artificial Cave
Nashville, TN, June 21, 2013 – In early October 2012, The Nature Conservancy put the finishing touches on a daring gamble to save America’s bats from the epidemic of White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Based on data from the first year’s operation, that gamble is paying off.
The nonprofit organization’s Tennessee Chapter spent some $300,000 to build an artificial cave prototype as an alternative habitat for bats during winter hibernation—when they are most vulnerable to the deadly fungus that causes WNS. Since 2006, WNS has killed more than 6 million bats across the eastern United States and Canada.
Initial indications are that the artificial cave is off to a good start and functioning well. Bats visited the cave, even though it was completed after their hibernation season had already begun. In addition, the Conservancy was able to attain the ambient temperature and humidity levels in the artificial cave during the winter that are critical to the bats’ use of the environment.
The artificial bat cave under construction
Gray bats, the most prevalent species at the nearby natural cave, prefer very cold, humid conditions for hibernation. Temperature and humidity data loggers confirm that the artificial cave was a few degrees colder than the natural cave (Bellamy Cave), which is actually closer to the gray bats’ preferred hibernation temperatures. The artificial cave’s humidity fluctuated a bit more than the natural cave, so more work will be done this summer to ensure stable humidity for next winter.
Because the artificial cave needed to be kept dark and free from human visitation, a key component of the project was bioacoustics monitoring equipment donated to The Nature Conservancy specifically for the artificial cave by Wildlife Acoustics. The Massachusetts-based technology company, a leading developer of recording units for the calls of birds, land animals and marine life, donated two units developed to record bat calls at the artificial cave site.
The Nature Conservancy installed One Song Meter SM2BAT+ unit at the natural cave site on the property to record bats’ ultra-sonic (high frequency) calls. “We recorded fall swarming calls at the natural cave so that we could re-broadcast them at the artificial cave to attract bats to it,” explains Cory Holliday, director of the Tennessee Cave Program from The Nature Conservancy. The idea was to lure bats to the new structure.
The second recording unit was installed at the artificial cave to capture the calls of bats in the man-made structure. The plan appears to have worked well. Wildlife Acoustics performed an analysis of audio recording data captured at the artificial cave with its new Kaleidoscope bat software. The digital recordings confirm that bats of more than one species regularly visited and explored the structure between October 2012 and February 2013.
Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM2BAT+ mounted at the entrance to the artificial bat cave.
“Using the Wildlife Acoustics units, we were able to detect repeated bat activity at the artificial cave with great regularity throughout the winter, which confirmed that bats had found the artificial cave,” says Holliday. “We had a lot of configuration and performance issues with the video cameras being used in the artificial cave. Fortunately, the acoustic data gave us a high level of detail about bat activity inside the artificial cave during its first winter in the ground. We would not have known just how much bat activity we had at the artificial cave without Wildlife Acoustics’ units.”
Because the infrared and thermal video cameras installed in the artificial cave did not function well, it is difficult to determine how many bats actually took up winter residence in the cave. However, Holliday found evidence that suggests at least two bats spent at least part of the winter there.
“It is encouraging that fair numbers of bats were checking out the site,” says eminent bat expert Merlin Tuttle. “We have little information on how long it takes to attract major hibernating populations. Since this site is near Bellamy Cave, the odds of early success should be above average. Pioneering isn't easy, but progress depends on it.”
“Our goal for Year One was that we wanted our artificial cave to maintain a temperature range close to that of the natural cave,” says Holliday. “We achieved that. We did not have any expectations for bats visiting the cave this first year. We ended up having a lot more bats entering and exiting the structure than we had expected, which we know from the Wildlife Acoustics recordings. We are very hopeful that we will see more bat activity this winter.”
The Nature Conservancy will spend this summer working to fine-tune the artificial cave to make it even more attractive to bats before the fall when they begin seeking caves to hibernate.
The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee
Wildlife Acoustics Chosen As Finalist For 2013 SBANE Innovation Competition
Concord, MA-based company is leading global provider of bioacoustics recording and monitoring systems.
Concord, MA, April 10, 2013 – Wildlife Acoustics, the world's leading supplier of bioacoustics monitoring systems for biologists around the world, has been selected as one of 20 finalists from a field of 204 nominated companies in the Smaller Business of New England (SBANE) 2013 Innovation award.
SBANE recognizes the importance that innovation holds as an economic engine for the New England area. Wildlife Acoustics has a history of seeking out local talent and manufacturing resources.
Robert Donovan, president of Attleboro Falls-based Distron said, "Wildlife Acoustics is one of our largest electro-mechanical customers and is a significant part of our fastest growing business segment. Distron has added 15,000 square feet of additional space and grown its workforce to handle Wildlife Acoustics' increasing production demands in electro-mechanical assembly."
"We're delighted that SBANE is showcasing technology-driven enterprises that are potentially game changers in their respective markets," said Ian Agranat, president and CEO of Wildlife Acoustics. "Our reach goes well beyond New England."
"Bioacoustics is a highly niche market requiring specialist recording equipment that allows biologists to access information that otherwise would not be available; for example, bat calls," says Andrew Baker, managing director of Baker Consultants, UK. "Prior to Wildlife Acoustics' entry into the market, we were forced to use poorly designed, over-priced and technically inferior equipment. The company's entry into the market was a breath of fresh air. Not only did their Song Meter product provide us with a cost-effective, superior, well designed recording device, but having produced it they carried on innovating, refining and evolving the SM2 platform. Here in the UK, it is no exaggeration to say that Wildlife Acoustics has revolutionized bioacoustics – making quality bioacoustics recording available to any biologist working in both the terrestrial and marine environments."
About Wildlife Acoustics, Inc.
Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. a privately held Massachusetts company, is the leading provider of weatherproof bioacoustics monitoring systems and technologies for scientists, researchers, and government agencies worldwide. With over 10,000 bioacoustics recorders deployed in more than 50 countries and on 7 continents, including Antarctica, Wildlife Acoustics' solutions monitor everything from avian, insect and amphibian to mammalian and marine wildlife. Visit us at www.wildlifeacoustics.com.
Wildlife Acoustics, Inc.
970 Sudbury Road
Concord, MA 01742
+1 (978) 369-5225
Wildlife Acoustics Ships 10,000th Song Meter Bioacoustics Recorder
Song Meter bioacoustics monitoring systems deployed on every continent including Antarctica.
Concord, Massachusetts, USA, February 12, 2013 – In the short span of four years, Concord, MA-based Wildlife Acoustics, packed and shipped its 10,000th bioacoustics recording device.
“Every continent, including parts of Antarctica is being monitored by Song Meter bioacoustics recording systems,” said Ian Agranat, President and CEO of Wildlife Acoustics. “I am thrilled and amazed that our Song Meters are capturing Mother Nature's biophony on virtually every part of the globe. From the Amazon jungle of Brazil to the lava flats of Hawaii to the forests of central Africa and pole to pole, our systems are constantly listening to a vast variety of wildlife in the most extreme and remote corners of the earth.”
This milestone is testimony to the staying power and continuous improvements in Wildlife Acoustics' Song Meter platform of bioacoustics recorders, accessories and software.
“There is a renewed sense of urgency in recent years to monitor the biodiversity and health of ecosystems in the face of dramatic global environmental change” says Ian. “The conversation about the loss of critical habitat and the dramatic and alarming rise in species extinction rates has become more frequent and vocal. I am finding that our Song Meters are quickly becoming mission-critical tools in capturing baseline environmental data, monitoring trends, and developing strategies for mitigation.”
Wildlife Acoustics is constantly reinvesting in new technologies to improve the effectiveness of bioacoustics data collection and analysis. Its mission is to serve the needs of biologists and conservationists around the globe and create tools that enable them to better understand the changes in the global environment.
In celebration of this special event, Wildlife Acoustics will showcase the field work of the recipient of the 10,000th Song Meter bioacoustics recorder.
Wildlife Acoustics, Inc.
970 Sudbury Road
Concord, MA 01742