Endangered bats

Northern long-eared bat

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.

I blogged about white-nose syndrome previously here and here.

Photo Courtesy of Al Hicks/NYDEC

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~ by siouxsielaw on July 20, 2011.

8 Responses to “Endangered bats”

  1. UGH! I knew about the frogs, but now the bats? Two of my favorite animals. My husband and I were just camping and I commented that there weren’t any bats flying overhead. I found this disturbing because even two years ago the sky would come alive with bats right at dusk. So sad!

    Thanks for the links. Poor batties. 😦

    • That is sad to hear. I could swear I’ve gotten way more bug bites this year. I scared to ask about the frogs.

      • I’m happy to report that there was a substantial increase in the frog and toad population in Sullivan and Rockland Counties (where we camp). Every night we would wander about looking for them and happily found an assortment of species … much more than last year. There were quite a few large bullfrogs who invaded my campsite, making me extremely happy!

        Watching the sky here in Staten Island, NYC I can report that I haven’t seen any bats. Usually I see bunches by this time of the summer. sigh … so sad.

      • Yay (about the frogs)! Bullfrogs are awesome.

        So sad about the bats. I haven’t seen any here either. 😦

  2. Poor little things!!! Anything that eats bugs is a hero in my book. People who are ruled by fear (ignorance) automatically dismiss the significance of creatures like bats, snakes, etc., which surely doesn’t help them to get the protection they need!!

  3. Here in NJ, there are several organizations that work tirelessly on raising awareness of WNS and encouraging people to get involved and make it a bigger priority. I don’t think many people really realize how big a part of our ecosystem bats really are.

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