Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
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Bats & AML

Bats & AML | Case Studies by State | Photo Gallery

BLM’s AML program activities close hazardous mine openings to protect the visiting public from injury and death. Some of these abandoned mines have significant colonies of bats, and a special concern of the BLM's AML program is threatened and endangered species.

In many instances, the bats are displaced from their preferred roosting sites by encroaching human development and wanton destruction. Although mines are human-made habitats, as we disturb, alter, or destroy natural habitats for bats, human-made habitats become critical in the conservation of bat species.

Bats are the major biological controllers of nighttime flying insects and play an important ecosystem role. Insects controlled by bats include many agricultural and forest pest insects. For example, a single little brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes in just one hour¹. In the southwest United States, many desert plant species are dependent on pollination by bats.

Bat grates and cupolas are cost effective closure methods that protect and promote bat habitat by allowing bats to pass in and out of a mine while blocking human entry. BLM installs bat grates/cupolas when mine openings are determined to be beneficial as habitat for bats.

Our Partners in Conservation

BLM also partners with a number of organizations in bat conservation. On the national level, partners include Bat Conservation International, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the U. S. Forest Service. State wildlife officials are responsible for conservation of bat species, and BLM consults with State bat experts to identify and protect those abandoned mines that provide significant roosts for populations of bats.

Bat trap set up in mine to capture data on batsBat Resources


¹ Bat Conservation International, 1993. “Amazing bat trivia”: PO Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716, 512-327-9721.

Image of Bat

Bat trap set up in mine

Jack O'Lantern Mine and Bat Gate

Photo of Mine and Bat Cupola