Bat Usage and Cave Management of Torgac Cave, New Mexico


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April 1998


Torgac Cave, New Mexico, is a dolomite and gypsum cave that provides a stable winter hibernaculum for several species of bats, primarily Myotis velifer, the cave myotis; Corynorhinus (formerly Plecotus) townsendii, Townsend’s big-eared bat; and Myotis ciliolabrum, the western small-footed myotis. Occasional bat count studies between 1966 and 1996 indicate a total hibernating population ranging from 649 to 3951 individuals. Temperature and relative humidity studies have established the preferred habitat of each species. Through wise management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and volunteers of the Southwestern Region, NSS, the population has remained stable over the past 30 years, even though the cave has been gated and off-season visitation has increased substantially. The construction of bat-friendly gates and the seasonal closure of Torgac Cave from November 1 to April 15 have helped maintain a stable bat population. It is recommended that the BLM continue the winter bat counts on an annual basis, and that studies be initiated of the summer bat flights.


Torgac Cave, New Mexico, Dolomite, Gypsum, Bureau Of Land Management, Bat, Bats

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