Save Our Bats...And America's Crops!

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Don't let white-nose syndrome deplete the bat population that saves American crops from disaster!


The bats of North America may soon be facing extinction. Native bat populations have dropped by millions in recent years, killed off by the worst wildlife health emergency in US history.

The perpetrator is an insidious disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS).

WNS appeared in New York in 2006, after having been brought over from Europe1. The disease soon spread to more than half of the United States and five Canadian provinces by August 2016, leaving millions of bats dead2.

Hibernating bats with WNS have white fuzzy fungal growth on their muzzles and wings. The fungus forces them to expend as much as twice the amount of energy as healthy bats during winter hibernation3. Infected bats often emerge too soon from hibernation and are often seen flying around in midwinter. These bats usually freeze or starve to death4.

Scientists predict some regional extinction of bat species will soon go extinct due to WNS5. Threatened species include the once numerous little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and federally listed Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and northern long-eared bat (Myotis spetentronalis).

Bats are an essential, beneficial part of our ecosystem. The loss of our bat populations will have substantial ecological consequences, as well as disaster for crops across the country. Bats are the only major predator of night flying insects, with one bat able to eat between 600 to 1,000 mosquitoes and other flying pests in just one hour6.

If bats disappear the insect population will boom, causing crop failure, economic damage and human illness. Increased pesticide use in the absence of bats could meanwhile cost the US billions of dollars, and harm the environment.

Congress members like Senator Patrick Leahy, Capitol Hill's biggest Batman fan, have called for greater funding to combat WNS7. We need them to stand up and increase financial support for the national plan to fight white-nose syndrome proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service8.

Sign the petition below to support efforts to save America's bats and help farmers!

More on this issue:

  1. National Park Service, Department of the Interior (8 December 2017), "What Is White-nose Syndrome?."
  2. White-Nose Syndrome Response Team (2021), "Spread Maps."
  3. Bat Conversation International (2021), "Finding solutions to protect bats from a deadly disease."
  4. Pennsylvania Game Commission (2014), "Millions of bats are dying from White-nose Syndrome."
  5. Winifred F. Frick, Jacob F. Pollock, Alan C. Hicks, Kate E. Langwig, D. Scott Reynolds, Gregory G. Turner, Calvin M. Butchkoski, Thomas H. Kunz, Science (6 August 2010), "An Emerging Disease Causes Regional Population Collapse of a Common North American Bat Species."
  6. Cumberland Gap, National Historical Park Resource Management Division (2011), "What is Killing Our Bats?"
  7. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) (27 October 2015), "Save The Bats."
  8. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2011), "A national plan for assisting states, federal agencies, and tribes in managing white-nose syndrome in bats."
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The Petition:

Dear Senator Patrick Leahy and supporters of the national plan to fight white-nose syndrome proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Thank you for fighting to keep bats alive, and consequently, helping save America's crop and farmland. Your work to help bats in your state has been impressive and effective. But we need you to do more.

White-nose syndrome is spreading vehemently among North American bat populations, and since 2006, has killed close to seven million bats. Bats eat insects, thereby naturally controlling much of the insect population that destroys crops and produce. If bat numbers decline, major crop losses could occur. It could subsequently cost America billions dollars in pesticides. This is a national problem, and demands a coordinated national response.

We can't afford to lose these bats — not only for the sake of animal preservation, but for the health of our crops and the financial state of our government. We need a national plan to fight white-nose syndrome, and protect our bat population.

Please continue to fight for national attention and funding for the national plan to fight white-nose syndrome proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and protect our country's bats.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: