Date of this Version
Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic, positive shift in the public image of bats in the United States (Tuttle 1988a). This shift is particularly impressive in light of the inappropriate and poor public image that bats have suffered in most western nations in the last century. Over the past decade, a sizeable segment of the U.S. public, as well as local, state and national officials, have been educated to the ecological and economic value of bats which results from their insectivory and plant pollination activities (Olkowski and Olkowski 1989, Tuttle 1988b). The fact that they pose a low risk to public health (Constantine 1988, Tuttle and Kern 1981) is also becoming more widely known and accepted. It seems likely that within a short time bats may become as popular a form of wildlife in the U.S. as they now are in England and Germany (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1986). Research and the results of a variety of control procedures have demonstrated that exclusion is the only safe, efficient, and effective long term technique for dealing with bats in human occupied structures (Barclay, et al. 1980, Brigham and Fenton 1987, Corrigan and Bennett 1982, Greenhall 1982, Tuttle 1988b). This combination of new information, attitudes, and exclusion results compel those involved in the management of bats to use education as the primary technique in resolving human and bat conflicts. When management is warranted, physical exclusion techniques carried out in a manner sensitive to the ecology and preservation of bats should be the only solutions considered.