Everyone have a good costume ready? Something scary? Maybe a vampire? Or a bat?
For a long time we’ve saddled bats – the sweetest nocturnal critters ever – with a decidedly undeserved reputation as ghoulish, creepy, and evil. I suppose we can blame Dracula, or the fact that they sometimes live in cold, dark caves, or maybe we can say it’s because they’re creatures of the night.
Regardless of their stigma from days past, I think we all know that, in reality, bats perform a formidable service for our ecosystem. Primarily insectivores, bats feast on my least-favourite pests like moths and wasps (the real villains, if you ask me). Truly, bats are the best!
Here’s Where it Gets Spooky
The scary truth is that we’re remarkably close to losing another species of these dark-winged devils altogether.
In New Brunswick, Canada, a once robust population of brown bats has been decimated by a fungus known as white-nose syndrome, which grows over their faces while they hibernate in the winter. Headlines have declared that we’ve lost over 99 percent, dropping the numbers from 7,000 to only 22. (source)
7,000 to 22. 7,000 to 22.
If those numbers don’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will.
Scarier still is the fact that the fungus appears to be moving westward with predictions that it will inevitably appear in the Prairies before a solution is found. (source)
It’s both sad and terrifying to watch our list of endangered animals grow and grow. I get chills down my spine whenever those animals are later switched to the extinct list. It’s so disheartening.
Bat populations are being affected across North America. In Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Fund is currently promoting efforts to help bats but please look into your local, regional conservation efforts. Whether you can adopt a bat or build them a house, just remember that these furry fellas aren’t the evil creatures they’re made out to be – they’re darlings, not demons – and they need our help.
Interested in other environmental issues? View this post and many others at www.greenphonebooth.com where I post as Mindful Echo.