- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

AVALON, Calif. (AP) - How many kinds of bats are there on Catalina Island? It’s a surprisingly tough question. Eight, 10, a dozen?

Calvin Duncan, a biologist for the Catalina Island Conservancy, says the last time anyone counted species on the island off the Southern California coast was 2000 and there were at least eight species identified. But he knows a couple of those are in serious trouble and there are a few more than eight.

He’s already started counting the species with donated acoustic sound equipment.

Catalina needs the flying mammals to balance its ecosystem because bats eat insects, pollinate flowers and ingest and scatter seeds. Entire colonies of bats have been wiped out, especially on the East Coast, because of disease or the loss of habitat, roosts or food.

In addition, bat-friendly gates have been installed at the entrances of three abandoned mines on the island.

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