New preserve in Missouri aims to protect endangered bats

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HANNIBAL, Mo._ A nature preserve planned in the northeast Missouri town of Hannibal will be more than a place to picnic or walk in the woods.

It also will serve as a protected area for about 168,000 federally endangered Indiana bats, which hibernate in a former limestone mine that closed a half-century ago and in surrounding caves.

healthy hibernating Indiana bat

The Sodalis Nature Preserve will be a short distance from the Mississippi River and be of no cost to Mark Twain’s hometown.

Canada-based Enbridge Inc. will pay for the land acquisition, management and maintenance as part of a mitigation fund to offset the impact of an oil pipeline to be built nearby.

The preserve will open to the public after land purchases are complete in January.

By JIM SALTER
Associated Press