They’re not very popular and would probably never be called cute, cuddly or adorable. But, bats are very important to our society as well as the economy. However, some species are facing a possible annihilation.
White Nose Syndrome has already killed seven million bats. The milky fungus is the greatest threat ever faced by North America bats and is spreading rapidly across the continent. It’s been identified here in Michigan in places like Dickinson County, where they’re sorely needed.
“Bats are very special, they do important ecological services for humanity. They make up 1/5 of all the mammals on the planet. They eat insects, without them we would probably use more pesticides, they help us keep down pests in our crops,” said Andrea Chynoweth, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Park Ranger.
Bats can eat more than a thousand insects an hour, saving billions of dollars in pesticide control that effects the average citizen.
“It irritates the bats while they are hibernating and causes them to awaken and use up the reserves of calories and fat they need to get through hibernation and basically this fungus is causing these bats to starve to death in the winter time,” continued Chynoweth.
Bats love to hibernate in abandoned caves and mines, which are prevalent in the U.P. On the whole, Michigan is home to 700 closed mines and two thousand shafts, so it is the perfect breeding ground for the disease to spread. To join the effort visit www.batcon.org.