Since its discovery in 2006 in NY, white-nose syndrome has killed more than one million cave-dwelling bats. The fatal disease has spread into 17 other states and into Canada.
Now the NYT reports that “[t]wo bat species threatened by habitat destruction and a voracious disease may get protection under the Endangered Species Act through a review announced today by the Obama administration.” The bat species are the Eastern small-footed bat and the Northern long-eared bat.
There are a host of reasons to save bats. But the most important is that they eat a ton of insects, including mosquitoes. I read somewhere that 500,000 bats eat 2.5 billion insects every night.
Here is a link to the petition for protected status filed by the Center for Biological Diversity that prompted the review.
Meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit earlier this month to challenge the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to open up caves in Colorado despite warnings that this could further spread the disease and put more bat populations at risk to infection.
Photo Courtesy of Al Hicks/NYDEC