Biologists seek more safeguards for Utah's bats

Biologists seek more safeguards for Utah's bats

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah wildlife officials say more needs to be done to safeguard the 19 species of bats in the state.

A disease that has decimated bat populations in the East hasn't hit Utah, but state biologists say local populations face other threats.

In a report to the state wildlife board, biologists are recommending a series of steps to protect them, including changes in timber harvest practices, use of alternative pesticides and nets that cover up toxic ponds near oil and gas operations.

Kim Hersey, a sensitive species biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says the goal of the plan is to sustain the populations and keep them from being placed on the endangered species list.

The wildlife board is scheduled to discuss the plan Thursday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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