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Watching the dark: New surveillance cameras are changing bat research

September 30, 2014

It is, according to an old proverb, “better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” And those of us trying to discover new insights into the mysterious lives of bats often do a lot of cursing in the darkness. Bats do most things under cover of night, and often in places where humans and most other animals can’t go. This dark inaccessibility is great for bats, but not so great for those of us trying to study them. Successful conservation hinges on understanding bat behaviors and needs, as well as identifying and addressing the things that threaten them in the darkness. But how do we light a candle without scaring the bats away or altering their behavior?