A former U.S. military training site in Okinawa Prefecture provided a precious refuge for a critically endangered bat unseen on the prefecture's main island for 22 years. The Yanbaru whiskered bat (Myotis yanbarensis) was captured by a research team two months ago, Kyoto University revealed Monday.
Jason Preble, a doctoral student at the university, first ensnared one of the tree-dwelling bats on the night of Feb. 20. The discovery took place during a survey of a large forested area in the northern part of the island that was returned to Japan by U.S. forces in December 2016.
Preble released the 4.9-gram male after fitting a tracker to it to follow its movements. He subsequently caught two more in the former U.S. military Northern Training Area using synthesized bat calls as an acoustic lure. All three bats were released back into the wild.