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The Virginia Big-eared Bat is an endangered species. This bat is a subspecies of Townsend's Big- eared Bat with populations found in Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The total population in West Virginia is probably less than 20,000. The number of Virginia Big-Eared bats declined sharply between the 1950s and early 1980s. This was mostly due to human disturbance of their cave roosts. During winter, these bats are more sensitive to disturbance than most. Bats only survive winter on a limited amount of stored fat, and any arousal from hibernation uses up precious fat reserves. If disturbed repeatedly throughout the winter, they starve to death before spring arrives.