June 30, 2016, Schnecksville, PA – Lehigh Valley Zoo and Pennsylvania Bat Rescue will release a rehabilitated Northern Long-Eared bat back into the wild on Thursday, June 30th at 8:45 pm (weather permitting). The Zoo has teamed up with these local bat experts to assist and participate in their bat conservation, research and rescue programs. The bat is identified as one of several threatened species of bats in the area and was found at a bat box with a torn wing. The weak and injured bat was brought back to health through the dedicated and expert care provided at Pennsylvania Bat Rescue and is now ready to be returned to the wild.
As part of an ongoing partnership, Steph Stronsick of Pennsylvania Bat Rescue and a Lehigh Valley Zoo Keeper will be performing periodic releases of rehabilitated bats at the Zoo. “Bats are a crucial component of the local ecological systems and also our economy,” noted Rich Rosevear, Director of Animal Operations at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. “Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly and—in our area—they eat insects. With the capacity for an individual to eat as much as 1,200 flying insects an hour, they provide a natural control of pest insects.”
Since 2008, bats in Pennsylvania have been plagued with white nose syndrome, a fungal disease which attacks them during hibernation. There has been a 99 percent decline in the population of the six species of hibernating bats in Pennsylvania. The little brown bat was one of Pennsylvania’s most common species. It is now believed to be a 99.9 percent loss of this species due to white nose syndrome for which there is not a cure.
A team of specialists, including bat researcher Kate Harms of Rodale Institute, bat expert Karen Campbell and her students from Albright College, and bat rehabilitator, Steph Stronsick are working with Zoo staff to monitor bat species at Lehigh Valley Zoo and Trexler Nature Preserve. Kate is conducting a comparative study of bat activity in different landscape uses to develop organic insect pest management strategies. The project is supported by NE SARE and Ian Somerhalder Foundation grants. The team has done acoustic monitoring and investigated active roosting sites at the Zoo and Preserve. Monitoring will continue and enhancements for bat roosting will be discussed.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but as a treasured community landmark, the Zoo’s history spans over a century. Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve has educated and entertained more than five million people.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. With a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook