Feds trim a Florida bat’s critical habitat

By Michael Doyle | 03/07/2024 01:28 PM EST

But the endangered Florida bonneted bat will still have a sizable habitat in the central and southern part of the state.

Florida bonneted bat

A Florida bonneted bat, which is the largest one in the state. Gary Morse/Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr

The Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 1.2 million acres as critical habitat for the endangered Florida bonneted bat, a big range that nonetheless is still notably smaller than originally proposed.

The critical habitat designation made final Wednesday shaved 21 percent off the 1.5 million acres proposed by the federal agency in 2020.

“When we went through the internal review process, some people pointed out that there were some assumptions made in terms of the science, that identified some areas as habitat that were not actually habitat,” Leo Miranda-Castro, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s former Southeast region director, recounted in an interview Thursday.


Miranda-Castro, who was the regional director at the time the original critical habitat proposal was made, added that some pointed questions “also came up during the public comment period, and so the service basically went back and checked the data and all of that, and came up with a better version that ended up being smaller.”