Information needed to solve killing of 89 bats near Superstition Mountains

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April 15th, 2009

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking for the public’s help in solving a case involving the unlawful killing of nearly 90 bats in an abandoned mine near the Peralta Trailhead in the Superstition Mountains.

The Mexican free-tail bats were shot and left in the mine to die sometime between April 1-10.

“This is a blatant example of disrespect for wildlife, and the laws that are established to protect the state’s wildlife,” says Wildlife Manager, Dana McGehee. “We need help from the public to catch the suspects. If you were in the area recently, please try to recall anything you might have seen or heard, or any conversations you may have had. Someone may not realize he or she has the key to solving this case. Unlawful killing of any wildlife is considered a major loss for the residents of Arizona and our wildlife resources.”

Anyone with information about this killing can call the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700. Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500 in this case. All calls may remain confidential upon request.

Arizona is home to 28 bat species, including two species that are nectar-feeders and pollinate plants like the saguaro and agaves. Mexican free-tailed bats are found throughout Arizona in the summer and most migrate south in the winter. They eat many different types of insects, including mosquitoes and many crop pests. The nectar-feeding bats are important pollinators of cacti and agaves. Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly and, contrary to popular myth, bats are not blind.

For more information on bats, visit. www.azgfd.gov/bats.

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