I wanted to help the little brown bat. I started thinking about the bats after reading about the harmful bat sickness that causes these bats to die. Researchers do not know what causes the deaths, but I know I can make a difference. I would like to help raise funds for research.
“A mysterious and deadly sickness that has killed off thousands of bats in New York has now been discovered in two Western Massachusetts mines. Researchers say they expect to find more affected wintering bat populations as they lead expeditions into dark caves and mines in the Northeast over coming weeks. They predict that hundreds of thousands of the furry creatures will be wiped out before the end of winter. The illness - known as white nose syndrome, because some afflicted bats have a white fungus on their noses - does not appear to pose any risk to people, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public to stay out of caves and mines in the Northeast because humans may be inadvertently transmitting the sickness to bats. "No one has a clue what is going on," said Tom French, assistant director of the natural heritage and endangered species program of the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, who helped find sick bats in Massachusetts.” Beth Daley wrote this article published in The Boston Globe on February 21, 2008. The piece of writing got me thinking about the bats in my backyard. I wanted to lend a hand to the scientists’ efforts by contributing to the Bat Conservation International that established a fund to finance this critical research.
According to Massachusetts Audubon Society, the two most common bats found in Massachusetts are the little brown myotis and the big brown bat. The bat sickness is reported among the little brown myotis, Indiana myotis, eastern pipistrelles and northern long-eared bats. The white-nose syndrome was reported last winter in New York and killed over 8,000 hibernating bats. “Entire bat species are potentially at risk if scientists cannot solve this puzzle soon. White-nose syndrome (WNS), named for a white fungus found on the faces of some affected bats, has been reported since the winter of 2006-7 in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and possibly Pennsylvania. Mortality rates of up to 95 percent have been documented in some populations hit by WNS. Four bat species are affected by the syndrome, with little brown myotis hit the hardest. Endangered Indiana myotis also are taking losses.” The seriousness of the situation is clearly written in the article for “A Race Against White-nose Syndrome” published in Bat Conservation Times.
The bats found in Massachusetts feed at night and catch thousand of mosquitoes, moths, beetles and other insects. It is possible that a single bat can eat over 600 insects per hour. They are the most efficient way to control insects in our area and are now dying fast. The little brown bat gives birth to only one offspring per year so you can understand how devastating these numbers are to the bat population.
The researches need our help now to find out what is happening to our bats. The problem thus far seems to be only in the Northeast of the United States, but this disease does have the potential to spread.
What will we do without our friends the bats? Without bats, life as we know it would be different. Not only do they eradicate insects which means we do not needs pesticides-no harm to humans. They also pollinate night blooming plants. Bats gives us many benefits and we will miss them fluttering around at night.