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Saturday, September 28, 2013

GAME COMMISSION TO TAKE DEEPER LOOK AT BAT DECLINES, & QUAIL MANAGEMENT GIVEN BOOST

GAME COMMISSION TO TAKE DEEPER LOOK AT BAT DECLINES
Board says it wants to do what it can toward finding a solution.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners said Tuesday it will be looking closely at what the Game Commission might do to help bat populations, which have been in decline due to White-Nose Syndrome (WNS).

White-Nose Syndrome is caused by a fungus and affects hibernating bats. The fungus, which is white in color, accumulates on the bats’ noses and wings, and causes the bats to arouse often during hibernation, leading them to burn up crucial energy reserves. Most of the bats afflicted with white-nose syndrome end up dying, and the decline among bat populations has been sharp.

The commissioners said any actions they might take to help bats need to be taken soon, or the impact of WNS on bats might be too severe.

“I don’t want to sit here in two or three years and say it’s too bad we didn’t do anything,” Commissioner David Putnam said.

The board said it would be discussing the matter further at its December working group meeting.


QUAIL MANAGEMENT GIVEN BOOST
Commissioners vote to route $250,000 from lease agreement to efforts outlined by plan.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners hope to jumpstart the state’s quail management efforts, and on Tuesday took action toward that end.

The board formed a committee to oversee implementation of the Game Commission’s quail-management plan, which includes an initial survey to identify quail habitat and determine how many wild quail live in Pennsylvania .

Additionally, the board amended a nearly $3.9 million lease agreement for oil and gas rights to route $250,000 to wildlife management resources, specifically for the management of the northern bobwhite quail.

Commissioner Jay Delaney made the motion to amend the lease, and it was seconded by Commissioner Brian Hoover and approved by a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Ralph Martone and Charles Fox voted against the measure, and Commissioner Ronald Weaner was absent.

Delaney said the Game Commission should place priority on efforts to manage bobwhite quail, since most reports indicate the species is in decline, and perhaps could be considered endangered.

The commissioners said the additional funding would help in providing resources for quail management.


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