Bats Continuing to Die All Over US Eastern Seaboard
April 14, 2009
“It’s here and it’s definitely deadly. A fungus that’s killing off bats so fast, one expert says some species could be wiped out.
Scientists have tracked White Nose Syndrome for about three years in this part of the country. It’s killed an estimated one million bats, according to the Washington Post.
Now the mysterious fungus is in two Virginia caves, biologists confirmed just last week: the Breathing Cave in Bath County and Clover Hollow in Giles County, hundreds of miles from the other known infected caves.”
“We thought we’d have more time to prepare,” said Rick Reynolds, a wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “Unfortunately, no one knows what to do about it,” he told the newspaper.”
“If this continues to spread, we are talking about extinctions,” Thomas Kunz, an ecologist and bat expert at Boston University, told the newspaper.
“I’ve studied bats for 44 years. This is unprecedented in my lifetime. It’s not alarmist. These are just the facts.”
No bats or few bats could have a devastating effect on our food supply and you’d be itching and scratching a lot more. Bats eat mosquitos and a lot of the insects.
“What are these insects going to do that aren’t being eaten?” Kunz said. “They can cause serious damage to crops, gardens and forests, further upsetting both the natural and human-altered ecosystems.”
“According to Andrew Madden, the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Western District Manager, the bat mortality rates in the region has reached a ‘catastrophic’ level… Mortality in some caves and mines in Massachusetts may be as high as 95 or 100 percent.
…Bats eat thousands of pounds of agricultural pests and nuisance species like mosquitoes every summer, so there’s no telling how the changes to the bat population could ripple through the ecosystem, not to mention the human food chain.” 04/12/2009
“Basically, they’re starving to death… White Nose Syndrome is only a byproduct. Probably due to bio accumulation of pesticides and climate change. Bats are voracious insect eaters and their loss could be catastrophic for agriculture.”
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|The Great Bat Die Off – New England East Coastal Regions, Spreading to Other StatesThe little brown bat is a furry little round creature with a tiny upturned nose and a huge penchant for pesty insects. These bats are dying off in increasingly alarming numbers. In a number of caves, they death rate is 100%.
Wildlife biologists are extremely concerned and consider this a major problem.
The culprit has been identified as a white fungus that infests the nose, skin and wings of the bat.
The bats are found flying around in winter rather than hibernating, in extremely poor condition, severely dehydrated and starving.
One little bat was gamely trying to drink from snow to quench thirst. Unfortunately, he will undoubtedly perish as bats cannot survive during the day exposed to cold and light.
Biologists are puzzled as to why the bats are leaving their caves in droves in the daytime, severely malnourished, dehydrated and underweight.
Here are some quotes from Mine Conservation Regarding Bats:
“Bats are primary predators of vast numbers of insects that fly at night, and many such insects rank among North America’s most costly agricultural and forest pests.
These include cucumber, potato, and snout beetles; corn-borer, corn earworm, cutworm, and grain moths; leafhoppers; and mosquitoes.
A single little brown bat can catch more than 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and the 25 million Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) that formerly occupied Eagle Creek Cave in Arizona consumed over 250 tons of insects nightly, the majority of which were agricultural pests.
A colony of Mexican free-tailed bats living in the old Orient Mine in Colorado consumes nearly two tons of insects nightly, largely moths.
Just one of the many moths that such bats eat, the corn earworm moth, attacks a wide variety of crops, from corn and cotton to tomatoes and pumpkins.
Since each female moth is capable of laying hundreds of eggs, as few as 100 can force a farmer to spray a large area of crop lands.
Illustrative of the impact that even small colonies of bats can have, just 150 big brown bats can eat sufficient cucumber beetles each summer to protect farmers from 33 million of these beetles’ root worm larvae, pests that cost American farmers an estimated billion dollars annually.
Long-nosed (Leptonycteris curasoae and L. nivalis) and long-tongued bats (Choeronycteris mexicana) are believed to be important pollinators for some 60species of agave plants and to serve as both pollinatorsand seed dispersers for dozens of species of columnar cacti, including organ pipe and saguaro, which rank among the southwestern desert’s most familiar and ecologically important plants.
Loss of these bats could further jeopardize these already declining plants, harming an entire ecosystem.
Bats are primary pollinators and seed dispersers for many of the most ecologically important plants of the desert Southwest. This lesser long-nosed bat is about to pollinate a saguaro cactus.
Mexican free-tailed bats rank among North America’s most valuable wildlife, consuming enormous quantities of insect pests each summer night.”
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