Habitat Protection in Mind With Big Land Purchase Near Louisville
"In an action designed to help conserve a bat population facing depletion by disease and lost habitat, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has annexed a 954-acre wooded plateau for $1.4 million," reports Sheldon S. Shafer in Louisville. The addition is the largest addition to the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest since its creation in 1928. "The new land — mostly a mesa called the Big Level — brings the Bernheim holdings near Clermont to 15,625 acres," adds Shafer.
Funding for the purchase came from grants administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund. Eventually, the land will be open for guided hikes and educational programs, but will be mostly restricted to access for researchers.
The issue of habitat protection for bats is important in this part of the country. Bats feed on moths and insects that pose a threat to crops. The new land is home to 12 species of bat, according to Shafer, "[i]ncluding the Indiana bat that is a federally endangered species and the northern long-eared bat that is threatened."