Good morning and welcome to Montrose Fresh, from The Montrose Daily Press. It’s Monday December 28th and we’re here to bring you a closer look at our top stories, events and more that matter to us here in Western Colorado. Today - why bats are important to Colorado, and what the state’s doing to protect them.
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Before we begin, we’d like to take a moment to recognize and congratulate Hayley Reed of Montrose.
Riding comes as naturally as breathing to Reed. It’s a passion she’s had since she was little.
She was selected as a member of Team USA to compete in the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in 2020. It’s an event that occurs every other year against competitors from around the globe.
This year’s cup was scheduled to happen this past July in the Netherlands, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that.
Foregoing the traditional format - each country instead submitted a recording.
Despite the challenges, Team USA finished first overall. Their team name will be placed onto a cup as the 2020 champions, and the competitors will receive belt buckles.
Reed will also receive a medal for finishing third place in the trail.
They’ve been derided as pests and made the objects of superstition - but make no mistake: bats are beneficial.
That’s why the state is part of a national program to gather data that can help manage the species in the face of threats.
Tina Jackson, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Species Conservation coordinator said that in Colorado, the big importance is they’re insect eaters. They’re big insect eaters.
As Jackson said, In the San Luis Valley, at the right time of year, an estimated 250,000 bats fly out at night and eat agricultural pests. Bats in metro Denver are also snacking on insects, even miller moths.
Jackson describes bats as being in the middle of the food chain. They eat the insects and bigger things eat them.
In other parts of the world they’re important pollinators for fruits. They are truly unique mammals, and according to Jackson, the only true flying mammals.
Many people don’t realize that bats are in fact mammals. They are. They give birth to live young. In fact, a pregnant bat carries around a fetus that grows to about a third of her size.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife or CPW has been helping to collect data for the North American Bat Monitoring Program. Why? Bats are threatened by a dwindling and fragmenting habitat, white-nose syndrome, wind energy development and climate change.
The project uses sampling areas, where monitoring is conducted using tools like acoustic surveys and winter hibernation counts.
There are 65 of these areas in Colorado and CPW is the lead on 50 of them, including the sites in Montrose.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed researchers’ strategies and they are not going into caves or handling bats directly. Instead, work was done by acoustic monitoring.
Although COVID-19 has not been found in these bats, it’s unclear whether humans can spread it to them. Researchers don’t want to take that risk.
Ultimately, the project aims to provide the information that will allow experts to spot early signs of population decline. It focuses on the 47 species of bats found in the United States and Canada.
But you don’t need to be an expert or a researcher to help the state’s bat population stay healthy. Some things you can do from home include avoiding the use of insecticides, and putting bat houses. Keeping house cats inside is another important step.
And perhaps the biggest thing you can do? Educate yourself and your friends! Bad’s get a bit of a bad reputation, but they’re an important part of our ecosystem.
Next, here are a few other things going on in our community that you should know about.
The Montrose Tour of Lights will continue to offer holiday fun until the New Year.
The family of a Montrose man who was fatally shot by a park ranger at a National Park earlier this year is suing the ranger and the U.S. Department of the Interior for wrongful death.
Montrose Regional Crime Stoppers would like your help in solving a theft case. A log splitter was stolen from the Olathe True Value Hardware Store on December 22nd. Anyone with information about this crime or the identity of the perpetrator can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 970-249-8500.
That’s all for today, thank you for listening! For more information on any of these stories visit us at montrosepress.com.
And don’t forget to check out our sponsor, Elevate Internet. Visit them at elevateinternet.com to learn more.
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