TWRA Surveys Sizable Gray Bat Hibernaculum In East Tennessee

Thursday, February 23, 2017
TWRA Region IV Wildlife Surveys Manager Chris Ogle surveys a cave in Cocke Co., Tn., that houses an estimated 86,000 Gray bats, a state and federally endangered species.
TWRA Region IV Wildlife Surveys Manager Chris Ogle surveys a cave in Cocke Co., Tn., that houses an estimated 86,000 Gray bats, a state and federally endangered species.

TWRA wildlife surveys managers recently explored a cave in East Tennessee that contains a large number of hibernating Gray Bats, a state and federally endangered species.

Wildlife Surveys Managers Chris Ogle and Daniel Istvanko descended into a cave known as Rattlin' Pit in Cocke Co., which is owned by Newport Utilities.  Joining them was a representative of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy.

Inside the cave, the surveyors located an estimated 85,955 hibernating Gray bats, along with four Tri-colored bats, and two Big Brown bats.  Because the cave contained such a large number of Gray bats, it is now considered a Tier 1 priority Gray bat hibernaculum and is the fourth largest Gray bat hibernaculum in Tennessee.  According to Mr. Ogle, “The Gray bat population in Tennessee is now estimated at 1.2 million, which is equal to the rough population estimate for their entire range when they were first listed as an endangered species.”  Gray bats are both state and federally endangered and were set to be de-listed until White Nosed Syndrome was found. Fortunately, Gray bats are not greatly impacted by WNS.

Mr. Ogle reports that because the bats were waking up so quickly, they did not get to explore the cave thoroughly and will probably resurvey this cave in the winter every two years and do an emergence count in the summer. Additionally, the surveyors report band recoveries from Pearson Cave in Hawkins Co., as well as some from Virginia.

Bats provide invaluable services to humans and natural ecosystems through pollination and pest control.  Tennessee is home to 16 bat species and all feed almost exclusively on insects.  In fact, bats are the only major predators of night-flying insects and a single bat may eat more than 50% of its own body weight in insects each night.  This adds up to about 3,000 or more insects daily.

Endangered Gray bats hibernating in a cave in Cocke Co., Tn.
Endangered Gray bats hibernating in a cave in Cocke Co., Tn.


Waterfowl, Migratory Bird Hunting Proposals Made During TFWC 1st Meeting In 2018

A preview of the 2018-19 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting seasons was presented at the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s first meeting of the year. The two-day meeting concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Jamie Feddersen, TWRA’s Migratory Game Bird Program leader, gave the preview. Seasons and bag limits for ... (click for more)

25,000 Tennesseans Volunteer On Feb. 24 To Plant Trees In Tennessee's 95 Counties

Tennessee Environmental Council is promoting 250K Tree Day, a statewide event on Feb. 24 planting 250,000 trees with 25,000 Tennessee volunteers of all ages.  Tennessee’s growing population equates to more consumption and deforestation, officials said.  The Council’s Tennessee Tree Project was created to plant one million native trees across the state to help repopulate ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

2 Top Officials Leave Administration Of Sheriff Eric Watson

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson on Sunday announced the resignations of Chief Deputy Brian Smith and Director of Administrations Arnold Botts. He said they "served with distinction for the past four years." The Sheriff's Office said, "Smith notified Sheriff Watson that he is exploring business opportunities in the private sector, while Botts mentioned the timing was right ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s The ‘Super’ Done?

The headline on Jan. 10 in the Times Free Press read, “Report shows Hamilton County students still lagging behind Tennessee peers.” In smaller type underneath, the sub-head added, “Less than 33 percent of county elementary, middle school students read at grade level.” Then, just seven days later, this on Friday, the same newspaper bannered, “Hamilton County Schools superintendent ... (click for more)