Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – The Kentucky Lands Trust has purchased 453 acres of land in two separate tracts in Marshall County to help preserve the endangered Indiana bat. According to Michael Johnson, manager of the Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, the land is located near the Marshall-McCracken County line within the acquisition area of the refuge.
Andy Radomski, Private Lands Biologist with the Refuge, said the bats use the western Kentucky area for maternity sites to give live birth. He said such sites are located from the Ohio River through Marshall County and are protected under the 1973 Endangered Species Act.
Radomski said the bats are important because they are high consumers of insects. “The fewer bats, the more insecticides that will have to be used by farmers, he said. He said a bat typically consumes its weight in insects every night.
The Indiana bat is particularly fond of loose bark trees which are abundant in this area such as hickory or older oak trees. Johnson said the xero hydris flatwoods area is unique within the 18,000 acres of land that is under the refuge’s acquisition area, noting only about 2,000 acres are of this rare species.
Johnson said he is hopeful the Kentucky Lands Trust will eventually turn over the land to the wildlife refuge for management.
“We are very happy about this acquisition to protect the bats, said Johnson. “We believe this is important for their long term survival.”