A tiny bat met an untimely and horrific death at Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Regrettably, this could have easily been avoided.

Rangers from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park shared this sad image last week via social media.

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Leave No Trace in Colorado

The tiny bat pictured above was found in the park along the river's east portal. The bat's death was undoubtedly related to the fish hook in its mouth. As stated in the Facebook post, "The angler who left it certainly didn’t imagine what would become of that hook."

Not Difficult To Understand

According to usgs.gov, bats are the most significant predators of night-flying insects. Taking that into account, it's not surprising a bat might mistake a fishing fly for an insect. Unfortunately, in this case, the mistake was deadly.

The Bigger Picture

Another point made via the Facebook post reads, "Your 'Leave No Trace' efforts make a difference!"

In addition to the loss of life, there are a number of environmental impacts to consider. As one person pointed out in the comment section of the post, "Fewer Bats means less pollination, hence less food for us. And more insects flying around."

It Adds Up

Usgs.gov points out there are at least 40 varieties of bats in the United States that eat nothing but insects. A brown bat, for example, no bigger than your thumb, eats up to four to eight grams of insects each night. The site uses the example of a loss of one million bats in the Northeast. Given their rate of consumption,  this could potentially result in 660 to 1320 metric tons of insects no longer being eaten each year by bats.

Ways To Prevent This

Another comment on the Facebook post states, "This happens a lot along the river with bats, swallows, warblers, etc. It is sad. I always try everything I can to retrieve my flies when in a tree or bush. At the very least, smashing the barbs on flies/lures could also help prevent this."

Another way to leave no trace and prevent events such as this comes from Flylords. They suggest, "Carry out everything you bring in, and do mother nature a solid by packing out the trash of others as well. Remember that monofilament takes 500 years to photodegrade, and even the smallest piece of tippet can be fatal to wildlife."

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