Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region




COVID-19 and Bat Surveys

We know that many mammals are susceptible to infection by a diversity of coronaviruses, and that these viruses can be found in wildlife just as they can in people. What is not currently known is whether the novel coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, has the potential to infect, or cause illness in, North American wildlife, including bats. To that end, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the U.S. Geological Survey and a team of wildlife disease experts to quickly assess the risk SARS-CoV-2 may pose to bat populations and will release recommendations as soon as evidence-based guidance becomes available. In the meantime, consistent with universal precautions, and out of an abundance of caution to protect bat health, the Wildlife Health Office asked Refuge staff to postpone activities requiring direct contact with bats.

Until we have a better understanding of the risk to bats posed by SARS-CoV-2 we recommend that people consider temporarily postponing activities requiring direct contact with wild bats. When such activities are necessary, they should only be conducted with protective equipment to prevent possible viral transmission. These recommendations do not apply to bat research activities that do not involve physical contact or close proximity with bats, such as acoustic monitoring or emergence counts when an appropriate distance and protection can be maintained.

For more information, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center has just released a Wildlife Health Bulletin (2020-03) with information on coronaviruses in wildlife, including mention of the assessment we are conducting and guidance for selecting protective equipment.

Additionally, the Center for Disease Control maintains the latest information on COVID-19 associated risks for animals.

We have specific Survey Protocols for some of the listed species in the Mountain-Prairie Region which should be followed when a permittee wants to establish presence or absence of the species. Please check to see if your species of interest has a survey protocol available. Survey protocols may be updated at any time, so please be sure to check back occasionally. In most cases you will still need a recovery permit before implementing a survey protocol.

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Wyoming Toad


Mexican Spotted Owl

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo


Pallid Sturgeon

Upper Colorado Endangered Fish


American Burying Beetle

Dakota Skipper



Black-footed Ferret

New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse

Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse

Utah Prairie Dog


General - Plants

Ute Ladies'-Tresses


Desert Tortoise

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: August 13, 2020
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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