Bat conservation is a relatively new phenomenon in Wyoming. Before 1994, bats were not legally protected in the state. In 1994, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a nongame wildlife regulation protecting several wildlife species, including bats. In 1998, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) joined efforts with other western states to develop the Species Conservation Assessment and Conservation Strategy for the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Pierson and others 1999). The resulting document has served as the foundation and the guiding force behind bat conservation efforts in Wyoming.
The development of the Western Bat Working Group soon followed this unprecedented proactive conservation initiative. The participating states have since each developed state working groups that are subsets of the Western Bat Working Group. The Wyoming Bat Working Group (WYBWG) was developed in 1998. This multi-agency group meets annually to prioritize and discuss bat conservation efforts in Wyoming. In 2003, the WGFD and the WYBWG initiated the development of this document, A Conservation Plan for Bats in Wyoming (Bat Plan). Nearly 2 years later, this Bat Plan was finalized.
The overall goal of the WGFD and the WYBWG in developing this Bat Plan was to consolidate what is known about bats in Wyoming and collate this information into a single document that would be available to everyone that is interested in bat conservation in Wyoming. This plan is intended to be implemented at local levels and to be utilized by land and resource managers, biologists, bat researchers, and other interested parties as a technical cooperative framework to identify and coordinate actions to facilitate the conservation of bat species in Wyoming. This Bat Plan delineates specific concerns for management, inventory and monitoring, and education that should be addressed in Wyoming.
Much still needs to be accomplished to secure the future of bats in Wyoming and this planning effort represents a necessary step to achieve this goal. Information on bats and survey techniques are continually improving and will undoubtedly greatly enhance our ability to manage bats and their habitats in the future. As a result, this document must be updated regularly to stay abreast of new developments. Funding for this planning effort was provided to the WGFD by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the State Wildlife Grants program.