Going to bat for a rare breed of bats

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Going to bat for a rare breed of bats

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 17, 2006 9:02 am

By Jillian Ogawa

Kevin Toepke, left, and Lee Florea rappelled
a mountain of trash that has been thrown into
a former saltpeter pit in Pulaski County.

SHOPVILLE - Holy trash can, Batman! What's in the bat cave?

Refrigerators, and stoves, and chairs, and tires, and a weed whacker -- and that's just the top layer of a 45-foot mound of garbage that has filled an old saltpeter pit near here.

About 500 rare Rafinesque's big-eared bats hibernate from fall to spring in a cave at the pit. The trash buildup could eventually prevent them from returning to the cave or could trap them inside it.

"It's one of the worst," Rose Sisler, 16, said of the dump. "Somehow, those bats are still living in there."

Volunteers in hard hats rappelled into the 80-foot-deep pit over the weekend to begin clearing garbage.

The cave at the bottom of the pit is about 2,000 feet long, said David Foster, executive director of the American Cave Conservation Association, based in Horse Cave. Saltpeter mined here was used to make gunpowder during the War of 1812, he said.

<a href="http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/15054904.htm">Full Story</a>
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Wayne Harrison
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